Season 2011/12 Review: December and January
Feature by Jaybee
Updated Monday, 28th May 2012
The latest in Barnet Mad's new exclusive series
After an undefeated November, the Bees were 19th in League Two, 6 points above the drop zone and in the semi-finals of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy and 2nd round of the FA Cup. However, December was to be largely a disappointing month and started with a 3-1 home defeat in the FA Cup to League One, MK Dons who outplayed the home side, winning 3-1, Barnet’s goal coming again through Izale McLeod, his 16th of the season.
However, three days later, a backs to the wall performance at home to another League One side, this time, Brentford, saw the Bees go through to the Southern Area Final of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy following a penalty shoot out win after a goalless draw on the night at Underhill with Dean Brill emerging the hero (not for the last time during the season).
Still, the Bees league form continued to cause concern. After taking 7 points from 3 games in November, Barnet managed just a point from 4 games in December. A 1-0 defeat at Torquay was followed by a feisty 2-2 draw at home toCheltenham thanks to 2 more McLeod goals, taking his tally to 18 for the season.
However, a shocking performance in a 3-0 defeat at Dagenham & Redbridge (with Alassane N’Diaye making his first start), followed by a 1-0 defeat at promotion chasing, Crawley Town four days later, dragged the Bees back towards the relegation zone, just three points from safety in 21st place. Plymouth and Northampton were in the bottom two places and, interestingly, Macclesfield looked comfortable in 14th place 10 points clear of the bottom two. QPR loanee, Gary Borrowdale returned to his parent club.
The Bees season though turned topsy turvy again and January turned out to be a very fruitful month in the league as Barnet took maximum points from the next four matches. The month began with Barnet claiming their first double of the season with a 2-0 home win over struggling, Bristol Rovers, McLeod and Kamdjo grabbing the goal in an unconvincing win.
This win was followed by one of the biggest games of the season for the Bees, the 1st leg of the Southern Area Final of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy at home toSwindonTown. The Bees gave a dogged, if slightly flat, performance in a 1-1 draw, skipper Mark Hughes grabbing a second half equaliser. More concerning though was the loss of right back, Danny Senda for the rest of the season, a player who was to prove very hard to replace as the season wore on. Unluckily, Senda was injured in the build up forSwindon’s goal.
However, Senda’s loss didn’t seem to effect the Bees too badly in the short term as Barnet went away on the Saturday to Accrington and came home with three points and a thoroughly convincing 3-0 win with goals from Hughes, Deering and Holmes. Bad news was to follow though as news filtered through that winger, Mark Marshall had been indefinitely suspended after failing a drugs test. The Accrington game was to be his last contribution to the Bees’ season.
Barnet’s league season continued to improve though as Ricky Holmes and Mark Byrne scored in a 2-1 away win over relegation rivals, Northampton Town to make it 3 league wins on the trot, a run that was extended to four the following Saturday as the Bees won 2-0 at home to Crewe Alexandra, Michael Hector scoring his first goal for the club and Izale McLeod his 20th of the season. Winger, Jordan Obita made his first appearance on loan from Reading as a replacement for Marshall.
The four win league run during January saw the Bees climb up to 17th in the table, 10 points above the relegation zone with a game in hand and looking forward to at the very least a comfortable mid table place by the end of the season in the eyes of many fans. And there was still the hope of a Wembley final if Swindon could be defeated in the 2nd leg of the JPT.
However, as will be seen in the next part of the series, the season had still many twists and turns to come.