It feels so gr-eight to savour a triumph
BARNET manager Kevin Nugent credited the bravery of his players as they mounted a stunning comeback against Cheltenham to gift him his first win at the club.
A Danny Wright chip had put the Robins ahead before Barnet underwent a stunning recovery through Curtis Weston and a John Akinde brace, to give Nugent victory at the eighth attempt.
“I’m really pleased we got the win,” said Nugent. “The lads did well to come back in difficult circumstances.
“I don’t care what anyone says. We’ve gone a long time without a win but we showed some bravery coming back.
“They score a goal which from our point of view I’m pretty disappointed with. They hit it and it goes straight through. They did show the character to come back.”
The Bees had started confidently, Jamal Campbell-Ryce getting to the by-line and zipping in a cross for the unmarked Akinde, but the giant forward’s shot was diverted wide.
Out of nothing, a flick-on from Billy Waters allowed Wright to lift the ball over Jamie Stephens when put clean through.
A lacklustre Barnet side claimed an unlikely equaliser when substitute Weston buried a volley from 18 yards after being set up down the right, before a remarkable turnaround saw Campbell-Ryce’s corner glanced in by top scorer Akinde.
Moments later, Akinde found himself one-on-one with Brown and made no mistake in claiming his 24th goal of the campaign, and Nugent admitted half-time encouragement was required to get the team going, while also being relieved to grab his first win as Barnet boss.
“It wasn’t the best of performances in the first half but as soon as the goal went in we lost a bit of confidence,” he added.
“I said, ‘Show me the passion and spirit – right through the week you’ve been training really well’.
“It was a relief – I’m enjoying it.” Cheltenham caretaker boss Russell Milton conceded his players had lost focus and says the effect of manager Gary Johnson’s heart surgery, which he is recovering from, has taken its toll.
“The momentum of the game swung and we couldn’t get it back,” he said. “They punished us for it with three goals.
“We weren’t professional enough to see the game out. We didn’t deal with the moments well enough.
“It (Johnson’s absence) has had an impact but we’ve all had to take responsibility.”