Chris Horricks reports for BIAS as the Bees slump to a back to back defeat for the first time this season
Prior to kick off the talk was of Stevenage being a blip, a wake up call, a one off indeed the first five or ten minutes saw Uwe’s men take the game to their hosts.
The Bees created several openings and look threatening, Clayton looking his usual energetic, lively self in creating the best chances for himself, the best of which came after he’d brilliantly held off three defenders only to spin and fire wide.
Not to worry the gathered away support thought, there’ll be others and there were, Marcello Trotta with a low drive was next to try his hand, alas, the keeper parried behind for a corner. Showing why he’s a defender, Liam Moore had a drive which flashed over the bar from a flighted ball.
It was then that the complexion of the game changed, a dubious looking free-kick decision close to the half way line resulted in the home side, which had barely been in the match to that point, found themselves in the lead. The back four then had an impromptu game of musical statues, allowing the Carlisle man to dispatch a looping header into the net. For a brief moment it looked to be the kick up the proverbial that the promotion chasing Reds needed.
Stuart Dallas, deputising for the out of sorts Harry Forrester linked play and looked dangerous, creating quick fire chances for team mates, all of which were blocked at every turn by a wall of 6ft something blue shirts.
Another break brought a corner to the home side, which would have resulted in them doubling their lead, if it wasn’t for an inspired double save from Simon Moore.
Aside from Harlee Dean having a rush of blood, resulting in a booking for punching the ball in anger at the latest in a line of questionable decisions from the referee, the half dwindled out before being brought to a close.
It’s only 1-0, it’ll be ok if we score early, and we’re better than them was the consensus view in the travelling Red and White Army.
These thoughts seemed to have some basis in reality as the half started much the same as the first had. Dallas again making the most of his opportunity darted into the box to tee up Trotta, this is it Bees fans thought, 1-1 game on, no, shot wide.
Then came a goal that gift wrapped that it belonged in pass the parcel not a football match.
The latest attack from the controlling Bees was once again thwarted, the home side broke, Liam Moore inexplicably gave the ball back to them, their midfielder took full advantage, sprinting clear with a whole half to run into, slid a pass to his team mate who easy as you like slotted home from close range, 2-0.
Then came a decision which baffled sections of visiting support, Clayton, who had looked most likely to finishing off a Dallas created chance, went off to be replaced by Bradley Wright-Philips, could this be our route back into the game? He’s a goal scorer, right? He knows what it takes to get promoted from League 1, right? Sadly, wrong!
For the first few moves he seemed keen, bright, pacey, up for a challenge, but all of a sudden, he and Trotta both decided that given they were in the lake district, they’d go for a walk, forgetting they were the focal point of a promotion chasing football team. Hope you enjoyed the scenery lads, but we’d rather you do what you were brought in to do!
Late on young Charlie Adams came on and put in an impressive shift on debut, playing in games like this can only help younger players as it builds character.
At the final whistle there was applause but mainly for the efforts of a select few, Moore, Dallas and as usual Dougie all put in a shift but if the strikers are passengers even the best teams, which on our day we are one of, struggle as was the case today.
Luckily results elsewhere didn’t go too badly for us, we’re still in with a shout of achieving something special but it has to get better than this…..surely….doesn’t it? Time will tell.