It may only be September, but it’s still not too early to compare the performance of the second division teams with the expectations before the Season. Carlisle United and Barnet surprised neutrals for a variety of reasons.
Carlisle have not shaken off the poor form in the second half of last season that cost them the climb. Carlisle have conceded 59 goals in 32 League two games since the turn of the year, including the Play-off tie with Exeter. A lack of pace in defense was problematic, Mark Ellis had hot weather, especially at Lincoln, while left-hander Danny Grainger did not look like himself.
Barnet have a strong enough strike to suggest they could exploit these shortcomings. They have scored 11 goals in seven games so far this season and that’s without much game time for recent signing Dave Tarpey, who registered an early issue and John Akinde, their undisputed Talisman for the last three seasons.
Her new Talisman is Shaquile Coulthirst, who already has seven doors in all its forms to her name. Coulthirst has had problems at previous clubs such as Southend and Peterborough, but spoke to Daniele Accurso about how he has improved in the hive and remains sharp in after games. He has scored five goals in Ligue 2 This year-only Reuben Reid has scored more.
Unfortunately for the bees, Reid did some damage on Tuesday night for Exeter, who made a after comeback. Barnet played well for 70 minutes that night, but his collapse after Rossi Eames might suggest a few fresher legs are needed at the back.
The defence he chooses is likely to be up against two of Richie Bennett, Hallam Hope and Shaun Miller, but the two represent the most dispiriting Opposition. Bennett struggled to get out of the National League, despite the long ball system that, in theory, would fit his size.
Hope offers a little more than the raw pace, while Miller has not yet left the mark, although he has had a few close shaves.
At the moment, all the pressure is on Keith Curles Cumbrians, who expected to score more than one point per game. Barnet have overcome two of the biggest clubs in the Division, which suggests they thrive the most when all eyes are on the Opposition.