Well, Edgar Davids obviously enjoyed the media attention, picked himself from the start and certainly hogged the headlines at the end. What he did to Stephen Wright would have got a boxer disqualified.
Not that I’m going to try and occupy the moral high ground too much: after all, this game saw two of the more merited red cards you’re ever liable to see thanks to Johnny Hunt’s ugly foul. Poor Wright, the third man to take the early walk back to the changing room, was the odd man out and had grounds to feel highly aggrieved.
All the late match drama overshadowed a solid performance by Wrexham, who certainly had the better of the game but went into injury time behind. Once more flaws which have been present this season were apparent: we failed to defend a set piece and the following cross well, leading to the Barnet goal, and failed to turn pressure into goals. While the performance was sound, it took a superb free kick from Dean Keates to avoid defeat: we failed to score in open play for the sixth time this season.
But we did build on Tuesday’s performance. Once more, Keates made a huge difference to our midfield and we were in control of possession for much of the game. Conversely, our attack again looked fairly blunt. Graham Stack had a fine game in Barnet’s goal (so did Andy Coughlin at the other end, to be fair, although that was a consequence of the home side’s superior ability to turn pressure into efforts which stretch the keeper) but it was mainly to repel efforts from Wrexham’s two best outfield performers, midfielders Keates and Jay Harris.
Andy Bishop’s unhappy run continues and he is still struggling to have an impact on matches: the case for Rob Ogleby to be given a run through the middle is beginning to build without him having to do anything.
Also, the nature of the opposition favoured Wrexham a little. Barnet were never going to change how they played to counteract our approach, as the likes of Nuneaton and Aldershot did to match-turning effect. Davids has fashioned a side which wishes to keep the ball on the floor so they weren’t equipped to go more direct and bypass our midfield. The same was essentially true of Southport last Tuesday: we’ve yet to see our improved form tested by a side which might go more direct in its approach.
So, Keates’ return has coincided with back-to-back unbeaten games which hopefully represent a starting point for the season. But hold your fire before claiming that too confidently.
Barnet (4-3-3): Stack; Acheampong, Stephens, Davids, Saville; Casabella (Abdulla 44), Weston (Vilhete 90), Villa (Allen 75); Cadogan, Lopez, Marsh-Brown. Unused subs: Mengerink, Jupp.
Wrexham (4-3-3): Coughlin; Carrington, Wright, Artell, Ashton; Harris (Hunt 90), Keates, Clarke; Anyinsah, Bishop (Bailey-Jones 63), Ormerod (Tomassen 93). Unused subs: Mayebi, Ogleby.
Man of the match: Dean Keates