Season 2010/11 - October and November
Feature by Jaybee
Updated Sunday, 3rd July 2011
Barnet Mad looks back on the events of last season
As October opened, the Bees were in the bottom two of the League Two table and the first game of the month was a six pointer at the foot of the table with the Bees entertaining Herford United at Underhill. Fortunately, it was Barnet who came out on top with a much needed 2-0 win, Mark Marshall putting the Bees ahead in the first half and a comical own goal sealing the points for Mark Stimson’s men as the Bees rose to 21st in the table. New signing from Sutton United, striker, Charlie Taylor made his debut.
This was the first of three consecutive home games but on the following Tuesday Barnet gave a limp performance at home to Southend in the 2nd round of the Johnstones Paint Trophy going down 3-1, Mauro Vilhete scoring his first Barnet goal in an otherwise highly forgettable performance. On the Saturday, the Bees performed much better in another relegation dogfight, this time againstBradfordCity but went down 2-0 and once again the centre back hoodoo struck the Bees again with new signing from Charlton, Grant Basey getting injured. As with the game againstRotherham, it had been goalless before injury struck and the Bees had been looking comfortable with Basey impressive. The match was also Phil Walsh’s last Bees game as he returned to Dagenham & Redbridge with the end of his loan period.Bradford climbed out of the bottom two and the Bees slipped back into it. Young Norwich full back, George Francomb arrived on loan and impressed on his Bees’ debut.
The following Saturday saw things get worse as Barnet became the first side to lose at struggling Stockport County after a poor performance. However, a competent 1-0 home win over Macclesfield, courtesy of a fine Mark Byrne goal, saw the Bees back out of the relegation zone as experienced striker, Kevin Gallen arrived on loan fromLutonTown. However, the month ended with the Bees again losing on their travels, this time atShrewsburyTownwhere Jordan Parkes’ first Barnet goal was not enough to stop the home side winning 2-1 as the Bees slumped to the bottom of the table.
November fared little better. An anaemic 3-0 home defeat at the hands of rivals,Stevenagesaw many fans calling for Mark Stimson to be sacked. Bizarrely, the Bees had signed former Stevenage and Barnet winger, Craig Dobson from lowlyThurrockand Dobson made a substitute appearance against his old club, gave a reasonably impressive performance and subsequently disappeared.
A brave FA cup fight against League One, Charlton saw the Bees draw 0-0 at Underhill and lose very unluckily 1-0 in the return at the Valley after giving one of their best showings of the season. Former MK Dons and Charlton striker, Izale McLeod who had been training since the summer at the Hive to get back to fitness came on as a substitute for the Bees in the match at the Valley. In between the two games, a valuable point was secured away at Torquay with Mark Byrne scoring for the Bees, but Barnet were now 2 points adrift at the bottom of the table.
So, it was all the more remarkable when the team gave their finest performance of the season in the next home match with fellow strugglers, Northampton Town, playing the Cobblers off of the pitch as the home side cruised to a fine 4-1 win with Steve Kabba scoring twice, Ricky Holmes, at last getting off the mark and Grant Basey opening up his Barnet account with a stunning free kick from about 20 yards. The win lifted the Bees off of the bottom and, moreover, lifted the spirit of the team and the fans. The only negative was the knee injury to Mark Byrne which ended his loan spell prematurely and saw him return to NottinghamForestfor treatment.
Hopes were high that the Bees could climb out of the relegation zone as they facedGillinghamat Underhill the following Tuesday. The match was always going to be a rather tense affair with former Bees’ legends Andy Hessenthaller and Ian Hendon now in charge of the Gills and with Hendon wanted to prove to Barnet that he shouldn’t have been sacked by the club in April. As well as this, of course, Mark Stimson had been sacked as Gillingham boss at the end of last season and was looking to prove a point too, though, after being barracked by the Stevenage fans – he had left Borough to go toStevenage– he couldn’t have been looking forward to the reception he would receive from the away supporters.
All seemed to be going OK for Barnet as they went in a goal up at half time through a rather scrappy Kevin Gallen goal, but the signs had been there that Gillingham were capable of getting back into the game and the Bees surrendered their half time lead and went down 2-1 with the Gills’ fans predicting that Stimson would be ‘sacked in the morning’.
Stimson survived for the time being but the club ended November still in the bottom two, two points behindNorthamptonand just a point ahead ofHerefordwith the manager knowing that if the club’s fortunes didn’t improve quickly his job would be in real jeopardy.