Barnet captain Charlie MacDonald says the Bees “can’t start games” the way they did against Lincoln City this afternoon but admitted he “did not know” why they had begun poorly.

The Bees fell behind to Jordan Burrow’s 15th minute header before Hamza Bencherif doubled the Imps’ lead seven minutes later.

Martin Allen’s side had started both of their previous Conference fixtures strongly, going 2-0 up inside 20 minutes at Chester and taking a 22nd minute lead against Bristol Rovers, but were unable to repeat the trick against Gary Simpson’s side today.

Reflecting on the defeat, captain MacDonald admitted the Bees could not afford to start as slowly again.

He said: “Obviously we didn’t start very well at all and I can’t put my finger on it because we’ve been really sharp in training this week, coming off the back of two really good results and performances.

“So to start like that today was very disappointing. We rallied in the second half and we took the game to them but when you’re 2-0 down it’s always an uphill battle and it was too little too late in the end.”

The 33-year-old forward continued: “When you set a standard like we have in the past two games, teams are going to come here and [make life hard for you]. You’re there to be shot at and you need to stand up and be counted and be ready for a fight.

“Today I think we were physically out-battled in the first half. They wanted it a lot more than anybody else and it wasn’t just one player, there were loads of us who weren’t on the front foot today, and that’s ultimately cost us three points,” concluded MacDonald.

The former Brentford hitman did however praise his team-mates after a vastly-improved second-half in which the Bees pulled one back through Keanu Marsh-Brown before piling on the pressure for the remainder of the half.

Enthused MacDonald: “It shows the character of the lads that we’ve got in the dressing room. The gaffer has made a couple of changes at half-time and to be fair to the gaffer, he said anyone could have come off – that’s how bad the first half was.

“He’s made the two changes and the two boys that came on made a massive impact and gave the manager something to think about. Gambin came on halfway through the second half and he’s ended up getting man-of-the-match, that’s how good a performance he’s put in since he came on.

“We’ve got players on the bench who can make a difference and we need that because you’ve got to fight for your shirt every week,” he added.