Gillingham 0 Barnet 1
Barnet's Graham Stack stops Gills with
another save. Picture: Barry Goodwin
Gillingham were beaten on home soil by lowly Barnet on Boxing
The League 2 leaders were a goal down at the break after
Barnet’s Jake Hyde fired home midway through the first half.
It had been a disappointing first 45 minutes for the Gills, who
started the afternoon five points clear at the top of the table, as
they registered just one meaningful attempt on target.
A triple substitution after an hour saw an
improvement, but Barnet hung on to take maximum points. The Gills
have now won just once from their last five home league
Boss Martin Allen made three changes to the
team which had drawn 2-2 with Fleetwood in their last encounter. On
that occasion they had to come back from a two-goal deficit.
And they gave themselves another mountain
to climb, this time against a side sitting 22nd in the league, and
one which Allen had led to League 2 safety last season in what was
his third spell at the club as manager.
The visitors, with former Dutch
international Edgar Davids in the team, had the better of the
first-half chances. Davids himself tried a cheeky flick at goal,
but his attempt lacked pace and precision.
However the veteran midfielder created
the opener when he picked up a loose ball and found Mark Byrne. He
fed the ball to Hyde and, with the defence backing off and opening
up in front of him, he smashed the ball into the roof of the
The Gills struggled to impose their game on
the visitors, to the frustration of the home fans, but nearly
levelled after 27 minutes. Matt Fish was found in space by
Romain Vincelot, but the resulting shot was blocked by keeper
It was as good as it got for Allen’s side
in that half. At the other end, John Oster fired in a free-kick
which tested the alertness of Gills keeper Stuart Nelson. He tipped
the effort over the bar.
Barnet were still bossing the game with an
hour gone, prompting Allen into making the triple
switch. Jack Payne, Chris Whelpdale and former Barnet striker
Adam Birchall all came on and immediately the Gills
looked much livelier.
Whelpdale shot just wide and Charlie Allen
had a shot saved by the keeper as the chances kept coming. In
the space of 10 minutes the Gills had created more
opportunities than the previous 60, as Birchall and Deon Burton
also had efforts denied by an overworked Stack.
The Barnet keeper was on hand to deny the
Gills again with 10 minutes left, with successive impressive saves
to deny Joe Martin and Burton.
Gillingham: Nelson, Fish, Martin,
Davies, Barrett, Montrose (Payne 60mins), Vincelot (Birchall
60mins), Lee (Whelpdale 60mins), Allen, Burton, Weston. Subs not
used: Kedwell, Strevens, Frampton, Forecast.
Barnet: Stack, Fuller, Byrne, Holmes
(Weston 84mins), Yiadom, Hyde, Johnson, Stephens, Oster, Iro,
Davids. Subs not used: Brown, Fortune, Nurse, Cowler, Lee,
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