AKINDE BLOW TO BLUNT BEES
JOHN AKINDE’S late withdrawal with a hamstring problem robbed Barnet of their most potent weapon and their best chance of victory in this frustrating stalemate.
Carlisle enjoyed the better spells of pressure and Barnet had the better opportunities, but neither goalkeeper was called on to make a difficult save.
Bees manager Martin Allen said: “We had about four good chances in the first half where we should have scored.
“In the second half it was difficult for our team to play higher up the pitch because our forward players weren’t quite at full fitness.The ball kept on coming back.
“Shaun Batt was going to be a substitute but John Akinde’s hamstring was tight before the game, so I threw Shaun in. He’s run himself into the ground and he got tired when he ran through with one chance.
“Michael Gash has had a hamstring injury and he’s hardly trained. He’s done us and me a favour to play.
“In the past perhaps there’s been numerous times when you play those games and you lose 1-0, but I don’t think in the second half they actually had an effort on our goal. They had pressure but they didn’t break our lines.
“We defended resolutely and with discipline. It’s another important point on the board.We were not on top form, we were half-a-yard short, but the point is valuable.”
Both midfields laboured keenly. It was blue-collar attacking with more perspiration than inspiration, but nevertheless there should have been goals in the opening half. Charlie Wyke especially was guilty of firing several attempts over the low terrace stands behind the goals.
The two best chances fell to the Bees. Right-back Gavin Hoyte blazed very high after slipping behind the crowded area unnoticed, and then Batt shot tamely wide when through on the keeper.
The impact of the livelier players, such as Bastien Hery, waned after the break as both teams seemed increasingly happy to filibuster for a draw that stretches Barnet’s unbeaten home run to four games and moves Carlisle to within a point off the play-offs.
Hallam Hope produced the only spark, brilliantly controlling the ball by the touchline and jinking past two defenders, but his weak shot was easily saved.
Carlisle manager Keith Curle said:“We’ve come to a very difficult place.They have the second-best home record in the division, but we had the larger dominance in the game without really creating any clear-cut chances. They had a couple of snapshots in the first half, but overall we had good dominance.
“Both managers probably will feel a little bit more quality could have made it more of a spectacle in the final third, but ultimately we had more dominance and entries into the final third.We’ve got some smiling faces in there because the players were challenged and they’ve stood up to that.”