Barnet head coach Martin Allen felt his side “more than matched” Luton Town this afternoon and said there was “nothing” between the two sides at The Hive.
The Hatters, who were promoted to League Two as Conference champions last season, ran out 2-0 winners thanks to Mark Cullen’s first-half strike and a penalty from Jake Howells 12 minutes from time to seal the win.
Speaking afterwards, Allen said: “I thought we more than matched Luton in the first half. That breakaway goal that they got was a real knock-back for everybody but overall, I’d say it’s been a good pre-season and I’m very happy with the way it’s all evolving.
“I thought it was a fantastic performance, up until the 44th minute when they knocked that goal in, we were dominating the game and we were well on top.
“The team acquitted themselves well; we played with a different system today, a different way of playing.
“I rested Gavin Mahon and Charlie MacDonald with a view to Tuesday night and I thought the players than came in acquitted themselves really well and I don’t think there was anything between the two teams,” added Allen.
With senior professionals such as Mahon, MacDonald and player-coach Jon Nurse all rested, Allen dipped into the club’s Under-18 squad and included Alfie Cain, Joe Gater and brothers Harry and Jack Taylor amongst the substitutes.
Reflecting on the involvement of all four towards the end, Allen said:” They’re playing well and they’re good footballers so we need to introduce them and bring them forward with us.
“They’ve been working hard, the lads in the youth team, the coaches and the managers there have been working very hard with them and they’re good players.”
Allen continued: “As the game went on it opened up a little bit and perhaps they got back into the game more in the second half.
“But overall, bringing the young lads on and in the second half, being able to have four youth team players on the pitch for us, I was chuffed to bits with that.”
Barnet changed from a 4-4-2 system to 4-3-3 for the first time this summer, with John Akinde flanked by Luke Gambin and captain for the day, Keanu Marsh-Brown, in the first half.
Jamal Lowe and Harry Taylor finished the game either side of George Sykes and Allen was encourage by how the side took to the adjustment: “We used that shape at the end of last season – playing with two wingers, one up front and three midfield players – like a 4-3-3 rather than a 4-5-1.
“It was a very attacking way of playing and we had to get the ball down and try and pass it, because it was very hot and we did that very well and created a few chances.”