Barnet 1 Swindon Town 1: All To Play For in JPT Area Final
Swindon Town headed to London ahead of their JPT Area Final First Leg game against Barnet full of confidence after the excellent FA Cup win over Wigan at the weekend. But, with the league’s top scorer amongst their ranks, Barnet were not just going to roll over. Andrew Steele-Davis was at Underhill to report.
Paolo Di Canio made three changes to the heroic team that dispatched of Premier League side Wigan at the weekend, resting Paul Benson and Callum Kennedy completely with Alan Connell and Raffaele De Vita dropping to the bench. Alessandro Cibocchi, Lander Gabilondo and Lukas Magera all returned to the starting XI and all hoping to make an impression what with a crucial few months lying ahead for Town.
The first fifteen minutes of the game set the tone for the evening, both teams displaying nerves and playing ‘kick and rush football’. In demand forward Izale McLeod was the first to test Wes Foderingham, but his low shot was well saved by the former Palace stopper.
Clovis Kamdjo, with a first name sounding like a type of bread and a haircut resembling a pineapple, fired over Town’s bar just after 26 minutes before former Town man and flop Mark Marshall’s cross was well claimed by Foderingham.
Simon Ferry nearly had the large and vocal travelling support on their feet on the half hour mark, his ever familiar powering run through the middle of the pitch ripped the Barnet defence to shreds but his finish was dragged wide.
Despite the first half being even in terms of chances, Town grabbed the lead just before half-time. Captain Fantastic Paul Caddis’s corner was only half-cleared presenting the talented Scot with the opportunity to put the ball back into the box, where Ronan Murray then produced a lovely lofted cross for man mountain Aden Flint to crash home and send the Town faithful into raptures.
Caddis nearly doubled the lead just after half-time but his shot was blocked after a surging run. De Vita and Connell came on for Gabilondo and Magera respectively, the latter again having another poor game in a Town shirt.
With the football on display largely poor, sections of the travelling support were then subjected to having objects, including coins, thrown at them by a bunch of kids, who quite frankly should have been at home in bed. Oh, and just in case you were wondering, the police didn’t do anything. Shock!
Barnet then grabbed the equaliser with just over fifteen minutes left on the clock, a Marshall free-kick being headed home by Barnet skipper Mark Hughes despite the best efforts of Foderingham to try and palm the ball away to safety.
With the game finishing as a draw, Town now have the perfect opportunity to secure a trip to Wembley in front of their own fans. On reflection, Di Canio’s team selection was wise with a whole host of must win games set to come thick and fast for Swindon, starting with Rotherham on Saturday.