Two first half goals from Ryan Watson help Barnet to beat the Swans…
Saturday 16th July 2016 (3pm) – friendly
STAINES TOWN (0) 0 BARNET (2) 2
Martin Allen did Staines Town the honour of bringing Barnet’s full strength League Two side to Wheatsheaf Park for what was the opening friendly for the home side. As Johnson Hippolyte had said earlier in the week, it is always a pleasure to test oneself against such opposition, but the test was made all the harder as it came only a week and a half after the commencement of pre-season training, and occurred on a blisteringly hot afternoon. The Wheatsheaf Park pitch was looking in excellent condition; it has been in the capable hands of Chelsea FC during Graham Gould’s enforced lay-off after his surgery, and for a time the grass cover looked worryingly thin. However, the Stamford Bridge crew knew what they were doing, and it flourished just in time for Chelsea ladies’ opener the previous Sunday. Barnet included two players familiar to Swans fans through loans last season – Fumnaya Shomotun and Harry Taylor, whilst Staines included Chinua Cole who was signed from Barnet, and second half goalkeeper Raven Constable, ex of “The Bees” and one of several triallists on show. Other debutants included Kane Haysman and Jefferson Louis, and Academy find Bradley Wilson, in a side that also saw the returns of Max Worsfold (back from Hayes & Yeading), and De’Reece Vanderhyde (who was with Staines for a couple of weeks last season on a dual registration from Bishop’s Stortford, but finished the campaign back with his then parent club). The only significant absentees were Jonathan Hippolyte (injured) and Jeremy Boakye (family commitment).
With Barnet taking the lead inside 3 minutes, it looked like it might be a long afternoon for the home side. The goal was a superbly taken curling shot by Ryan Watson, his curler from just beyond the left extremity of the box giving ‘keeper Jack Turner no chance. This was soon followed by decent – but off target – efforts by team-mates Nicholls and Gambin, but Staines steadily got into their stride, and on 28 minutes came close to an equaliser through a bending shot by the impressive Kynan Isaac. Isaac was involved again as Staines went in search of an equaliser towards half time, his fine approach work leading to a pull-back that came just a little too quickly towards Haysman who was unable to keep his shot on target. However, it was Barnet who snatched a second in the 44th minute: another neat move, this time involving Shomotun, being rounded off by Watson firing his second into the bottom corner from 18 yards out.
Staines made a full sweep of changes at half time, with Barnet also making five changes, and although the game continued to entertain, there were no further goals. Staines came close through Vesmer in the 79th, but he attempted a shot from an angle when a square ball to a team-mate may have brought greater rewards, while Nicholls of Barnet twice powered wide in the closing minutes. The only worry for Johnson Hippolyte was an injury to McKain which led to a late, unscheduled appearance for Bobby Behzadi.
Afterwards, Barnet were most complimentary about Staines Town, with one player commenting “It was a good run out on a nice pitch and Staines are a good outfit”.