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Underhill Stadium  - Barnet
Saturday, October 9th, 2010
V Bradford City, League Two, 3pm
By Eamonn Lynch

Even in early October, this could be classed as an early season six pointer with both teams languishing near the foot of the table. Itís fair to say we travelled more in trepidation than hope. Barnet is a nice town and I was looking forward to the day out.

The journey down was fine and the ground is very handily placed to get to from the M25. A word of warning though, my Tom Tom wanted me to turn left when I was in the town centre. Iím not sure where I would have ended up, but fortunately I have been to Underhill before and knew the approximate location of the ground. As you travel downhill from the town centre you will see the ground on your right hand side. You will come to a set of traffic lights beside The Old Red Lion, if you take a sharp right there you will find plenty of street parking available near to the stadium.

Although there is a decent array of pubs nearby, The Old Red Lion is away fan friendly and situated just behind the away end. A fair percentage of the four hundred plus travelling support had the same idea and were already in attendance when I arrived. Barnet fans wonít exactly rush over to engage you in conversation (this is London, after all), but the atmosphere was very relaxed. It was my second visit here and there hasnít been a hint of a problem on either occasion.  The McMullenís Country Bitter was tolerable and less than £3 a pint, which has to be good value in this part of the world. Along with many others, I passed on the ham and cheese baguettes on offer, though the chip shop just down the road seemed to be doing a very good trade.

I opted to stand up rather than sit at the game. The terrace that runs the length of the pitch is shared between both sets of supporters and can generate quite an atmosphere. The sloped pitch is the most striking feature of the stadium. The overriding impression is that the ground has been developed over the years as and when the club could afford to, but there are certainly worse places to watch football.

There was time for a Pukka Pie and a coffee before kick-off, which was excellent value at £3.70 for both. Iím a little perplexed that an earlier review of Underhill is so critical of the catering, itís perfectly acceptable and probably offers the best value in League 2 if Iím being honest. The game itself was quite open but had a distinct lack of quality. Apart from their league positions, both teams have their injury problems and few chances of note were created. City eventually took the lead through a fine strike by Osborne before adding a second five minutes later. Low on confidence, our hosts never threatened to get back in to contention and the three points made the return journey north a happy one.

Getting away from the ground was extremely straight forward in what equated to a seven hour round trip.

I have to say that I think Barnet gets too much bad press. I enjoyed my day out there and believe most others would as well. Clubs like Barnet are the life blood of the game. I look forward to returning next year when I think Iíll sample a couple of other pubs that the town has to offer!

 

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