Three days after their FA Cup defeat by Harrogate Town it was another 1-0 loss for Torquay United at Underhill last night, but this time there was only frustration at a result which defied all logic.
Barnet midfielder Clovis Kamdjo fired the Bees’ winner in the 79th minute, completely against the run of play after a match which United dominated almost from start to finish.
Kamdjo’s winner was only Barnet’s third shot on target, while United, with Billy Bodin prominent, peppered the home goal with 22 scoring attempts.
To rub salt into United’s wounds, leading scorer Rene Howe picked up his fifth booking of the season which will keep him out of Saturday’s trip to Oxford United.
The result lifted Barnet off the bottom of the table, after a run of ten points out of 12 with former international star Edgar Davids in their side.
United manager Ling made two changes from Saturday, recalling Joe Oastler for Danny Leadbitter at right-back and Craig Easton in a midfield reshuffle for Danny Stevens.
Easton slotted into the middle with Craig switching to Stevens’ role wide on the left. Barnet also rang the changes after their FA Cup defeat to Oxford United, with Davids, Jake Hyde, goalkeeper Graham Stack and centre-back Krystian Pearce all brought back into the side.
There was nothing wrong with the way United started – in fact, they looked like the home side for the first 20 minutes.
Bodin signalled his intentions right away, trying his luck from long range and, even though the effort was off target, it did not stop him from having several other attempts. He also appeared to have a decent shout for a penalty, under a challenge from Elliot Johnson, but referee Darren Deadman waved away appeal.
When Damon Lathrope set Rene Howe away down the left in the 15th minute, Bodin was unlucky not to get a touch to Howe’s low cross.
Stack was able to save fairly comfortably when Mansell could get no real power on an inviting Kevin Nicholson free-kick, and even Oastler caught the “bug”, firing just wide from 25 yards with Stack struggling to cover.
Stack had to make a low save from Bodin, again set up by Howe. And in the 30th minute United were furious when Deadman gave a goal kick even though Stack did well to get his fingertips to a Howe chip.
Barnet did rouse themselves for efforts by Anthony Edgar, deflected wide across the face of goal, and Mark Byrne. But United continued to call the shots right up to half-time. Bodin drilled Howe clear on the right, and the Gulls’ centre-forward beat a man cutting in and then curled a left-foot shot inches wide of the far post.
Then another fine move, patient as well as slick, gave Bodin the chance to shoot narrowly wide from 15 yards. Remarkably, it was United’s 13th attempt at goal in the first 45 minutes.
United were forced to replace Poke with Martin Rice early in the second half, after Poke had been unable to take a goal kick. But even Rice was largely untroubled, as United continued to dominate possession and territory.
All their superiority was undone in the 79th minute when Hyde broke down the left, found Kamdjo on the overlap and he beat Rice with a shot from just under ten yards.
United’s understandable frustration boiled over into bookings for Howe and Aaron Downes in stoppage time, for they had nearly equalised in the closing stages through Howe and Bodin.
Barnet (4-4-1-1): Stack; Fuller, Stephens, Pearce, Johnson; Yiadom, Byrne, Kamdjo, Edgar (Lee 73); Davids; Hyde. Substitutes (not used): Cowler (gk), Fortune, Abdulla, Weston, Allen, Lowe.
Goal: Kamdjo 79.
Bookings: Stack, Pearce.
Torquay United (4-4-2): Poke (Rice 48); Oastler, Saah, Downes, Nicholson; Mansell, Lathrope (Jarvis 84), Easton (Stevens 75), Craig; Bodin, Howe. Substitutes (not used): Leadbitter, Halpin, Cruise, Yeoman.
Bookings: Easton, Howe, Downes.
Referee: D Deadman (Cambridgeshire).