Barnet’s preparations for their return to League Two are 'coming together nicely', according to manager Martin Allen.
Last season’s National League champions played out a feisty goalless draw with National League South side Maidenhead United at York Road on Saturday, which Allen described as 'another good workout' for his side.
He commented: “It was a tricky pitch and very hot, but we’ve got no injuries and plenty more minutes under the players’ belt.
“The players have trained very hard now for the last two days coming into this game, and it was another good workout for us against a team that will be a very good one in this division. They’re very direct and gave us a couple of challenges.”
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Barnet struggled to impose themselves in the first half. Goalkeeper Dan Lincoln, on trial after his release from Reading, palmed a curling effort behind for a corner after 10 minutes and could only stand and watch as Maidenhead’s Dean Inman nodded narrowly wide from point blank range.
Powerful young striker Matt Stevens, recently subject to a bid from Swansea City, was introduced at half-time and had numerous chances to win the game for the Bees.
He headed well over from Ben Tomlinson’s cross minutes after the restart, and forced Carl Pentney in the home goal to make a flying save down to his left with a rising shot.
Although Maidenhead posed a keen threat on the counter attack, Stevens came closest to breaking the deadlock when his downward header was cleared off the line by Inman with 15 minutes to play.
Allen, now in his fourth spell in charge of the Bees, thought his side showed improvement as the game went on: “I’d say it was a better performance in the second half than in the first half.
“We had a couple of chances, particularly in the second half, but didn’t get those tucked away. The players are getting those minutes under the belt, building up match fitness and match sharpness against what is a difficult team.”
New signings Kevin Lisbie, Tom Champion and Ben Tomlinson started the game, while recent acquisition Shaun Batt, who is still building up his fitness, played half an hour. Trialists Dan Lincoln and Michael Nelson were given 90 minutes to impress.
Allen said it was 'too early to say' whether Lincoln and Nelson would be offered permanent deals and it would be a case of 'wait and see' for any further permanent additions to his squad before the start of the season in three weeks’ time.
“We are building towards it now, they are coming together nicely.” Allen said, “There’s room for improvement, but there’s room for improvement at every club in pre-season. We’ll keep evolving, there’s no doubt."