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Barnet impressed against Birmingham City but exit the Capital One Cup after a 3-1 defeat
So a Championship team beats a League Two side 5-1 in the Capital One Cup. Not really surprising. But what the scoreline doesn’t tell you is Barnet performed well against Birmingham City at St Andrews.
The Bees had gone ahead in the first period through Jon Nurse only for Marlon King to equalise from the spot.
Two goals in nine second half minutes effectively settled the contest. Steven Caldwell fired home before Darren Ambrose added a third with a fine curling strike. In stoppage time Peter Lovenkrands and Wade Elliot rounded off the victory.
Barnet head coach Mark Robson handed seven players debuts with Jordan Brown, Jon Fortune, Oliver Lee, Nurse, Ahmed Abdulla, Freddie Warren and Anthony Edgar all included in the Bees starting XI.
The Barnet squad are not stereotypically built for League Two. The players are not all six foot plus and rely on physicality rather than skill. They pass, the keep possession and at times in the opening 45 minutes they made team a who lost in the Championship play-offs last season look fairly ordinary.
The Bees were the better side early on. Edgar saw two efforts saved and another cleared off the line and Nurse nearly turned a cross from Andy Yiadom home. Birmingham were rattled.
And the home fans thought their side had gone behind as Fortune flicked a cross over Blues’ keeper David Lucas and Clovis Kamdjo turned the ball in.
The Bees faithful began to celebrate only to see the flag raised. Kamdjo was offside. Unfortunately he didn’t have to touch the ball – it was already on its way in. The phrase ‘play to the whistle’ can sometimes frustrate.
However, minutes later the ball was again in the Birmingham goal and this time it counted.
A deep cross from Brown was met by Nurse. He headed towards the near post and Lucas could only push the effort into the roof of the net. It was a lead Barnet deserved but a Birmingham reaction was inevitable. Seven minutes later they levelled through former Bee King.
He was fouled in the box by Kamdjo before getting up and sending Liam O’Brien the wrong way from the spot.
While on the balance of play it wasn’t undeserved, the Bees had created the better opportunities to be in front.
And as the half drew to a end Barnet came close to retaking the lead. Ricky Holmes collected a pass and advanced into the box. As Lucas closed him down, Holmes chipped the ball over the onrushing keeper only to see his shot strike the post.
At half time the chance of an upset was a real possibility. However, nine minutes after the restart Barnet were 3-1 down.
Caldwell put the Blues ahead as he fired home after a corner dropped to him in the area and the lead was increased when Ambrose curled a left footed strike past O’Brien.
Edgar and Holmes both had strikes from distance saved by Lucas as they looked for the reply but the Bees hadn’t looked as threatening after the interval.
Birmingham eased their way through the second period and, despite scoring twice, hadn’t forced O’Brien into real action.
In added time they gave the score a flattering look as Lovenkrands fired home before Elliot smashed in number five.
The final result was emphatic but there were certainly positives for Barnet to take from the contest.
The Bees kick off their League Two campaign on Saturday with an away trip to Port Vale. Birmingham City: Lucas; Murphy, Caldwell, Davies, Packwood; Burke, Mullins, Morrison, Ambrose; Lovenkrands, King.
Birmingham City substitutes: Doyle, Ibanez, Gomis, Elliot, Rooney (not Wayne), Zigic, Redmond.
Barnet: O'Brien; Brown, Kamdjo, Fortune, Warren; Edgar, Lee, Abdulla, Yiadom; Holmes, Nurse.
Barnet substitutes: Cowler, Saville, Hyde, Weston, Sykes, Johnson Vilhete.