The sun shone over the Hive as the Bees took on the blue and white of Bristol Rovers.
Barnet fans arrived in their droves as they hoped their team would continue the form they have shown in the Emirates FA Cup so far.
- The Emirates FA Cup
- First Round Proper
- Sunday 11 November 2018
- The Hive, Barnet FC
- Replay date: 7.45pm, Wednesday 21 November
As I entered the stadium, a scene of blue and orange met my gaze, however both sides’ colours were soon covered in black jackets as it was a cold Sunday afternoon.
The players made their way out onto the pitch and in honour of the occasion, poppy wreaths lay in the middle of the ground as both sides huddled round the centre circle for a moments silence. Lest we forget.
At the referee’s whistle, the silence was broken as roars from both sides filled the stadium and the sound of a drum began to rumble as Barnet fans began singing and chanting, the most vocal among them situated in the south terrace stand.
Seven minutes in, a two-footed tackle made an impact on the game as Bristol Rovers’ Stuart Sinclair saw red, a decision that was greeted with roars from Bristol and pure elation for Barnet. The Bees were buzzing, had they just been handed the tie on a plate?
It didn’t take long for Barnet to show their advantage. Sixteen minutes in, they were 1-0 up as Craig Robson’s effort from inside the box left the Bristol Rovers goalkeeper helpless and the ball nestled in the back of the net.
Rovers fans were down but certainly not out. With the way things were progressing their manager Darrel Clarke decided changes were needed. Daniel Leadbitter and Stefan Payne were replaced by Kyle Bennett and Sam Matthews.
The changes were evidently needed as Bristol began to grow into the game. Barnet were still 1-0 up at half time and looked like they could see it through.
Bristol knew they needed a strong 45 minutes. Character had to be shown or else the tie was gone. From the off, Bristol had the upper hand, with some great efforts. However, the Barnet drums and chanting in the south terrace stand kept going and going. The support was relentless.
As the game went on Bristol looked like a different team to the first half but that’s because they had an eleventh man - the fans, who would soon be rewarded for their loyalty.
At the 64th minute, Tom Nicholas was brought down on the right-hand side of the penalty area and the referee pointed to the spot.
Up stepped Chris Lines who dispatched his effort into the bottom corner. Bristol fans were sent into delirium as the Bees seemed to have lost their sting.
The game entered the final ten minutes, which seemed to be gruelling for Barnet as Rovers would not stop attacking, smacking the woodwork three times before the whistle sounded for the end of the game.
In the end, Rovers asserted their dominance even with ten men and Barnet had to retreat and lick their wounds in preparation for the replay. Both teams clapped for both sets of fans, thanking them for their amazing support throughout the tie.