Martin Allen described hat-trick hero Lee Cook as “outstanding” after Barnet’s 4-0 win over Dartford but was at pains to recognise the other members of the squad, who “all play their part”.
Cook came on as a half-time substitute for debutant Adam Mekki – with the Bees 1-0 up through John Akinde – and scored three second-half goals to propel Barnet into second place in the Conference standings following back-to-back Bank Holiday weekend victories.
In scoring a treble, Cook becomes the first Barnet player to score three at The Hive - with Dani Lopez scoring the Bees' last hat-trick in the 4-1 win over Morecambe in March 2013.
Assessing the 32-year-old’s part in a rousing win, Allen said: “He’s just part of a squad of players we’ve got here. They all play their part; they all make their mark in different ways.
“It was good that he got a hat-trick but Akinde, you’ve got to say today, I thought he was outstanding.
"The goalkeeper [Graham Stack] made a good save at an important time; he helped defend the set-plays at important times. You go right through the team, and they may not have scored the goals which everybody sees, but they’ve all done things individually and collectively which have helped us win the game.
“The hat-trick was outstanding; there was no doubt about that,” added Allen.
The Bees head coach made three changes, handing recent-signing Mekki his debut, whilst giving Jack Saville and Luisma Villa their first starts of the season.
For Allen, giving all his players an opportunity to perform on Saturdays is the ideal “reward” for their endeavours in training.
He said: “They’ve all trained so hard; it’s hard to leave them out at times. You have to give them a motivation to train and a motivation and a goal at the end of the week. If they keep getting knocked back and not playing, they’ll end up getting naffed off, unfit and fed up.
“I’ve said from day one, we’re going to have a squad of players and all of the squad can go and play. In training this week Saville’s been good, Mekki’s been good. (Luke) Gambin, we saw again today he’s come on as a sub and made a difference - he wasn’t even on the bench for us 48 hours ago (at Nuneaton).”
Allen continued: “I think we’ve got to make sure all these players in our squad are involved and get games. The important thing is I trust in them and believe in them.
“They all the same work the others do and they’re all good players. If they can’t do it at this level, then we’ll have to get rid of them – or why are we paying them? That would probably be the other thing.”
There was also praise from Allen for the 1,605 Bees’ fans who braved the miserable conditions to witness a second home win from three games this season.
“The atmosphere is coming now,” enthused Allen. “It was pouring with rain here today but the place was alive, it was on fire. That vibrant buzz of coming to watch and that excitement of football in the pouring rain, it’s pretty good. You can feel it happening; it’s happening – that’s for sure.”