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Up Hill and Down Dale
By: Rob Sedgwick
THE match that Town needed Dale to win turned out to be totally meaningless, but actually made Grimsby's result at Burton academic anyway as Barnet ran out 1-0 winners.
A large crowd assembled at Underhill, including an impressive contingent from Rochdale to see their final game in League Two. A few Town fans were dotted amongst the masses from Lancashire, who had been housed on the open terracing behind the goal, normally used by home fans.
Barnet had only one turnstile open for away fans and fans were still drifting in until the 30 minute mark. Many had queued up for nearly an hour to get into the ground with the sloping pitch.
Dale started with a near-full strength side but elected to play just one up front, when they normally play 4-4-2.
Barnet dominated the first half and should have gone in front when a defensive mistake let in a Barnet attacker but the 'keeper made a good save to deny Barnet their opener.
Cheers then rang around the ground as Town had gone behind.
Barnet, who hadn't scored for eons, then hit the bar with the 'keeper beaten.
Town conceded again and the result at Underhill became an irrelevance.
In the second half Dale switched to 4-4-2 but Barnet continued to press even when Burton added a third.
I left before the end because I couldn't bear to see the celebrations but Barnet scored a late winner, no more than they deserved.
I can't complain about Rochdale, they tried hard but their confidence was low, and the match meant so much more for Barnet and their fans than it did for Dale.
It's irritating that a club like Barnet, who have no tradition, a terrible ground, low crowds, and a fan base who generally support the nearby North London giants, have taken away Town's place in the Football League, but that's not their fault, it's ours. It would be poetic justice though if we replace them next season.
At least I won't have to go to Underhill next year. I have been three times up the Northern Line to enjoy their games this season, and stood with Grimsby, Rotherham and Rochdale fans watching them play.
Good luck to Dale next season and let's hope they do a Scunny and get a double promotion.
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