Match Report: Barnet 0 Chesterfield 2

Goalscorer Sam Togwell is congratulated by the goal provider Darikwa.
Goalscorer Sam Togwell is congratulated by the goal provider Darikwa.
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Jay O’Shea, who a couple of days earlier had announced he was to become a father and Sam Togwell, who tapped in following some stunning skill by Tendayi Darikwa, were the scorers, but it was the defenders that were the heroes.

Barnet, fighting for their league lives, earned an incredible 18 corners as they dominated much of the afternoon’s territory on Chesterfield’s last visit to the notorious sloping Underhill; Barnet move in the summer.

Despite the Bees’ pressure, keeper Tommy Lee, who had endured a couple of nightmares in previous visits, only had to deal with one really tricky shot, an angled effort from John Oster following a short-corner routine.

Of the game, manager Paul Cook said: “First half was probably as poor as I’ve seen us play in a long time. I said at half-time, it looked more like an end of season game where we had nothing to play for. You can imagine, the paint came off the wall. 

“Now and again we all need liveners and I said at half-time, if we want the season to end today, go out and do that. Go and play like that again in the second half. But we improved, we scored a couple of good goals and in general we played a lot better and now the Bradford game on Saturday becomes massive.”

O’Shea’s goal was the first Barnet had conceded in almost eight hours of play. Drew Talbot rolled the ball to the Irishman on the box-edge. He turned round one man and shot through two more, one of them being former Champions League winner Edgar Davids, to notch his sixth goal for the club.

That goal came after a spell of total Barnet pressure as did the second one which saw Talbot pick out Darikwa on the right. He dragged the ball back before slipping effortlessly through two. The winger then delivered the ball on a plate for Togwell, who in the first half had forced a great save from Graham Stack. After the break, the keeper also blocked a shot on the turn from the recalled striker Scott Boden.

To emphasise the vital role of Spireites rearguard, between goals Liam Cooper, who’d overcome a nasty gash picked up in the draw against Port Vale, made a goal saving tackle to deny Mark Byrne who’d broken away into the box.

Despite the 15th clean sheet of the season, a total not bettered for 10 years, and a rise to a season’s equal best ninth spot, little post- match chat was about the game or great goals.

Spireites named just six subs and it was soon clear that neither Richard Brindley nor striker Armand Gnanduillet were in North London. The two players, plucked in January from the obscurity of Blue Square South and French semi-pro respectively, were both believed to be close to signing extended deals for the club.

However something has clearly gone wrong and neither Cook nor Chief Executive Chris Turner would comment any more other than saying a statement would be forthcoming either Monday or Tuesday.

Speculation is high that agents may well have been the catalysts for the deals falling through whilst supporters wait anxiously for the club’s explanation.

The four teams immediately above Spireites all play tomorrow night, so the exact shape of the Proact side’s task for the final four will be better formed by then.