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Coca Cola League Two
Graziolis last-minute goal earns a draw from Rochdale at Underhill
By Lisa van der Wekken
The visitors began the game strongly. Flitney was kept busy as Rochdale took the offensive.
For the first ten minutes we were under some pressure with good work from Hendon and Lambert on the wing. Bailey had a chance early on, but for all the work of Grazioli and Sinclair we couldnt get any decent openings as Rochdale were disciplined at the back, harrying our forwards.
Sloppy defending from the Bees let Blair Sturrock through but the ball bobbled and it was an easy save for our keeper.
Rochdale almost got the lead from a powerful Rickie Lambert free-kick which cannoned off the left upright, which I think without the benefit of replays was just nicked by the hand of Flitney to deflect it on to the upright. If so it was a great save.
But the player of the first-half was Grant Holt. The Rochdale striker twice clutched his head in despair as eccentric shots went well wide, and this didnt go unnoticed by the more vocal Barnet fans. But he got his chance to answer the crowd with a 36th minute headed goal from Lamberts corner. Rochdale took a deserved lead
The second half started slowly for Barnet. Batt dispossessed Sturrock but couldnt make anything of it. Grazioli had a run but was blocked off by the Rochdale defence; more possibilities than chances.
Strevens ducked a long pass, thinking it was goal bound, in front of Rochdales net when he maybe should have attempted a strike himself.
The blue-jerseyed contingent behind Flitney cheered as they were the only ones to see the ball for the next 10 minutes we were stuck behind keeper Matthew Gilks and it didnt come anywhere close. A good chance for Rochdale to wrap up the match came when Lambert whipped in a cross and Holt connected with his head only to see our keeper get the faintest of touches deflecting it wide. When Gary Browns shot was blocked by Flitney the defence appeared to be frozen in place.
When Liam Hatch replaced Soares with over 20 minutes to go, play lifted slightly, along with fan morale. A good opportunity was sliced wide by Sinclair when it looked odds on to be the equaliser. But Rochdale had their chances too. Sturrock had a great opportunity to kill the game off when the flag stayed down but failed to capitalise.
Barnet werent beaten yet. With minutes to go Grazioli took his chance; he headed into an empty net as the keeper was stranded. A much needed point, and hopefully after the mid-week result a turn in fortunes for the Bees. With excitement high in anticipation of Old Trafford the fans left Underhill with a smile and a relish for the league and the cup.
Quotes from the Manager
"It [Man U tie] was a distraction today, of course. But I never doubt the attitude of my players. They don't know the meaning of giving up."
Ref: K Stroud (Dorset)
Flitney, Hendon, King, Charles, Batt, Soares (Hatch 71), Sinclair, Lee, Bailey, Grazioli, Strevens (Graham 84)
Subs Not Used: Tynan, Gross, Bowditch
Gilks, Clarke, Griffiths, Gallimore, Jaszczun, Jones, Brisco (Brown 28), Warner, Sturrock, Lambert (Tait 85), Holt
Subs Not Used: Woodhall, Boardman, McArdle
Other League Two Scores
Boston Utd 1 - 1 Grimsby
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