2011/12 Season Review: February & March
Feature by Jaybee
Updated Monday, 4th June 2012
The latest in Barnet Mad's exclusive new series
Four wins in a row left Barnet seemingly in a safe mid table position in League Two at the start of February and also there was the hope of reaching Wembley in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.
Unfortunately, for the Bees, the dream of Wembley was over early on in the month when they lost 1-0 to SwindonTownin the 2nd leg of the Southern Area Final having drawn the 1st leg at Underhill 1-1 four weeks previously. The Bees gave a flat unimpressive performance at the County Ground and seldom looked like scoring and ended the match with 10 men after substitute, Charlie Taylor was sent off near the end.
Whether or not it was the disappointment of missing out on a day out at Wembley, the Bees recent fine league form soon became something of a distant memory as results quickly declined. A disappointing goalless draw away to bottom club, Plymouth Argyle was followed by four straight defeats. A 2-1 home defeat at the hands of promotion challengers, Shrewsbury Town, (Izale McLeod scoring his 21st goal of the season) was followed by two away defeats; 2-1 at Oxford where a Michael Hector goal had given Barnet the lead and where McLeod missed a late penalty which would have earned the Bees a point and 1-4 at Aldershot where the home side were 3-0 up within 30 minutes and sub, Charlie Taylor’s goal merely a consolation prize.
The month ended even worse with the 4-0 hammering at home by Bradford City with Darren Dennehy giving away a penalty and receiving a red card after 17 minutes. After that, Barnet were never really in the game and the Bantams won easily in a match that was an embarrassment for the home fans with Michael Hector & Izale McLeod fighting on the pitch. Just 1 point taken in February from a possible 15 saw the Bees drop to 19th in the table, but still five points clear of the bottom two; Dagenham & Redbridge and Northampton.
Interestingly,MacclesfieldTown and Hereford were also in the bottom six along with Plymouth Argyle. The Silkmen had been a comfortable 14th at the beginning of January but had since taken just 2 points from 9 matches.
March was to fare only slightly better than February for the Bees. A Mark Byrne goal earned a useful point at home to Rotherham but this was followed by a midweek 3-1 defeat at Gillingham where the Bees once again took the lead, through Ricky Holmes, but failed to take control of the game and allowed the Gills to take all three points with Jordan Obita, whose loan spell at Barnet had just ended, predictably scoring the winning goal.
It was all the more surprising then that Barnet should travel to Port Vale on the Saturday and return with all three points thanks to goals from two players getting their first goals for the club; Ben May signed on loan, on his debut, from Stevenage and Andy Yiadom recently signed from Braintree. That win lifted Barnet back to 19th place, still five points clear of the bottom two; now Plymouth and Dagenham & Redbridge.
The next four matches looked promising for the Bees. Perhaps the chance to finally pull free of the relegation battle with 3 home games and a trip to Macclesfield who had not won since January and had taken just 5 points in their last 12 matches. However, the chance was not taken. A disappointing 2-0 home defeat at the hands of Morecambe was followed by a 2-2 home draw with fellow strugglers, Dagenham & Redbridge which the Bees perhaps should have won but were in the end were grateful for a spectacular Ben May goal that earned them a point after Izale McLeod’s 22nd goal of the season had equalised an earlier Daggers’ goal. On the Saturday, Barnet missed another chance in a match they dominated but which ended goalless and where McLeod missed a glorious chance of earning all three points.
March ended with another home defeat, this time at the hands of promotion challengers, Torquay, but this was one that was really hard for the home fans to take. Izale McLeod missed another penalty in the first half and despite Barnet battering the away side for most of the game it was Torquay that came away with all three points in a 1-0 smash and grab win.
The defeat left Barnet in 20th place, just 3 points ahead of the relegation places now occupied byHereford and Macclesfield, who had still not won since January. With just 7 matches left could Barnet avoid going to the last game of the season for the third year running to clinch League Two survival?