It was 20th v 24th in League Two on Tuesday night, as Barnet played hosts to Dagenham + Redbridge in a relegation six-pointer. Although it ended up two goals apiece, it was by no means a thriller, with some desperate defending at times. Neither team really attempted to play the ball on the ground, particularly in its closing stages and it was mainly scrappy in midfield.
Dean Brill was recalled in the Barnet goal, with Liam O’Brien dropped to the bench, following some costly mistakes in the defeat to Morecambe last Saturday; Kamdjo was called into the centre of midfield, a move that saw Sam Deering on the bench.
As is the case recently, the home side started brightly: McLeod and May both should have taken their chances – the Daggers’ defence showing those low levels on confidence you’d expect from a team bottom of the league. And May could have so easily broken the deadlock had his header not been cleared off the line by Damien McCrory – the home fans behind the goal in the south end of the ground believed the ball had crossed the line.
It was the away fans to cheer next, again for a chance that so easily might have been: the opportunity falling to them in the opening 20 minutes, when Jon Nurse running in from the right wing took a shot. He, like the Daggers’ faithful, thought he hit the back of the net – only the side netting..!
But it was Dagenham who made the breakthrough: a sliced free kick allowed Medy Elito to show some skill by the corner flag, before delivering a tempting cross into the box and allowing Mickey Spillane to head home – a free header. From a Barnet point of view, Elito shouldn’t have been allowed to get the cross in, he was marked by two defenders.
Barnet 0–1 Dagenham + Redbridge (Spillane ’25)
The visitors were on top following their goal, hitting the woodwork twice in quick succession, but Barnet battled strongly in order to get that equalising goal. It finally came five minutes after going behind: McLeod timing his run to perfection and lobbing Chris Lewington in the visitors’ goal.
Barnet 1–1 Dagenham + Redbridge (McLeod ’30)
A draw at half time was a fair reflection, with both teams creating chances and scrapping for their lives. It was obvious at the beginning of the second half that both sides would try their hardest to regain the lead and get those all important three points – whether that be through a defensive mistake, or much-needed stroke of luck.
Despite playing up the slope in the second period, Barnet created opportunities – however, nothing to really test the Dagenham keeper. The game become a tough-fought battle in the middle of the park, Mark Hughes, a particular highlight for the home side, displaying a battling mentality, with a number of well-timed challenges.
With the game looking like it could still go either way, the away side regained the lead. Another cross into the box, and another header – this time Scott Doe with the killer blow.
Barnet 1–2 Dagenham + Redbridge (Doe ’72)
With 18 minutes remaining, and Daggers in the lead, as things stood both teams would be on equal points.
But again the Bees showed that fighting spirit much needed when at the wrong end of the table, and came level after being behind for a second time in the game. Ben May with a shot from distance – Daggers complained it was a poor goal to concede with their keeper’s positioning at fault.
Barnet 2–2 Dagenham + Redbridge (May ’79)
At the end of the day, a draw was probably a fair result, with mistakes from both sides costing each other those three vital points.
It’s another six-pointer for the Bees as they head to the Moss Rose to play Macclesfield on Friday night.
Attendance: 1,725 (away: 351)
Starting line-ups:Barnet – Brill; Hector, Downing, Dennehy, Mustoe; Byrne, Hughes, Kamdjo, Holmes; McLeod, May
Dagenham + Redbridge – Lewington; McCrory, Arber, Baudry, Spillane; Elito, Doe, Parker, Ogogo; Nurse, Akinde