Date: 4th August 2007 at 10:38am
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Jason Puncheon scored a hat-trick from the penalty spot as the Bees put in a similarly dominant performance over St Albans as to the 5-0 victory over Northwood on Saturday. Again, it was an excellent performance from the home keeper that denied Barnet a bigger win. The partnership up front was Adam Birchall and Ben Wright whilst the rest of the squad, with the exception of Rob Beckwith being in for Lee Harrison is probably the same side that will kick-off the new season. Joe Devera returned from his injury to start at right-back.

Ashley Carew was on excellent form during the match and linked early with Wright and Puncheon to allow the latter to burst into the area but his shot was blocked by the keeper. Birchall hit a stinging shot which went for a corner following an excellent save. That was followed by efforts from both the frontmen which were again saved by the entertaining Eyre in the home goal.

There was concern for Paul Fairclough when he had to take off Michael Leary mid-way in the first-half after sustaining an injury to his face but a scan later revealed it was only bruising. That substitution gave a chance for Max Porter to play in his actual position, in the middle of the park, rather than at right-back where he has been deputising for most of pre-season.

Ismail Yakubu did fine at the back, dealing well with the long balls from St Albans, whilst nearing the end of the half Devera’s ball back into the opposition area hit the hand of a defender and the ref pointed to the spot. Puncheon sent the keeper the wrong way as the Bees went into the dressing room a goal to the good.

In the second half, Barnet’s dominance was counter-acted by the opposition defenders’ last-ditch clearances as Barnet piled on the pressure. Michael Bostwick and Kenny Gillet replaced the full-backs and Anthony Thomas came on for Birchall.

Carew continued to cause City full back Harvey problems and Puncheon did the same to Suliaman on the opposite flank. Puncheon got past his man six minutes in, his shot smashing against the post. Danny Hart, Stephane Seanla, James Cole and Liam Hatch entered the frame before Thomas hit the net, turning past Harvey with foul appeals being ignored, as the striker rounded the goalie and slotted into the net.

There was a slight problem at the back when City made themselves a chance but the cross couldn’t be met by the attacker. A tripped Puncheon on the edge of the area earnt another penalty, which was again converted, whilst another handball allowed Puncheon to complete his hat-trick and claim his place as penalty taker for the Bees this season.