Season review: August & September
Feature by Jaybee
Updated Wednesday, 26th May 2010
Barnet Mad looks back on the first two months of the 2009/10 season.
Barnet started the season with high hopes of achieving their best finish in League Two since the club was promoted from the Conference in 2005. The improvement in the club’s form in the second half of the previous season under new manager, Ian Hendon suggested that the Bees could look forward to a top half finish at least and that there would be no repeat of the relegation struggle that Hendon found himself in following the resignation of Paul Fairclough at the end of 2008.
One key aim of the summer break was to try and clinch the signings of some of the loan players who had been such a feature of Barnet’s renaissance during the early months of the year and to retain the services of Albert Adomah and leading scorer, John O’Flynn. There was also the fact that key midfield player, Neal Bishop was out of contract.
A number of new players came to Underhill. One of the early signings of the summer was 19 year old, Swindon Town striker, Jake Hyde who was expected to push for a first team place. A number of pre season friendlies were played, as usual, including home matches against Arsenal, Charlton and Southend United and a number of trialists impressed during these games. Australian centre back, Daniel Leach was signed after playing against Arsenal and two Sierra Leone internationals, Ahmed Deen, a former Macclesfield left back and ex Gillingham winger, Albert Jarrett were added to the squad along with former Reading youth team captain, Clovis Kamdjo, a promising centre back. Ryan O’Neill, a young right back released by West Ham, and related to Bees’ midfield player, Mark Hughes, was a further signing who came through the pre season friendlies.
Ian Hendon also signed Micah Hyde, an experienced midfield player who had played for Watford and Peterborough United and the Jamaican international was made captain. 41 year old, Paul Furlong who had a tremendous impact at the end of the 2008/09 season while on loan at Southend, was considering an offer of a year’s contract with the Bees.
Meanwhile, goalkeeper, Jake Cole who had become a big fans’ favourite after his loan spell with QPR decided to sign permanently for the club, giving Hendon a major boost and there was further good news when the popular winger, Yannick Bolasie was signed on a six month loan deal from Plymouth Argyle. Paul Furlong also put pen to paper and signed up for the Bees in a one year deal.
However, there was also disappointment when Neal Bishop, having first agreed a new contract with the club, decided to move instead to Notts County, a club that was now being backed, apparently, with big money by League two standards. However, this was more than compensated by the fact that Barnet’s two star players, Albert Adomah and John O’Flynn remained at the club as the season started.
One problem appeared to be a lack of firepower up front. Luke Medley and Cliff Akurang were both allowed to go on long term loans to Woking and Rushden & Diamonds respectively, and apart from O’Flynn, Furlong and Jake Hyde, there was only the virtually untried former PROTEC striker, Elliott Charles.
With John O’Flynn still not fully fit after being injured towards the end of the previous season, Hendon decide to play Yannick Bolasie up front in partnership with Furlong for the opening league match away at Lincoln City. There were debuts for O’Neill, Leach, Jarrett and Micah Hyde, but despite playing well, the Bees went down 1-0.
The next match, at home to Championship side, Watford in the 1st round of the carling Cup, was lost too; 2-0 after extra time, but the Bees gave a fine performance which, with a bit more luck could have seen them perform a giant killing act. Ismail Yakubu was very unlucky to see an extra time goal unfairly ruled out.
The first home league match of the season saw the visit of Shrewsbury Town and there was a full debut for Jake Hyde. The former Swindon striker responded with both goals in a hard fought 2-2 draw as the Bees were beginning to put together some promising performances, even if the results weren’t quite coming yet.
The first win of the season wasn’t long in coming as three days later, Barnet defeated Morecambe 2-0 at Underhill. In a poor game, Paul Furlong gave the Bees an early lead and Albert Jarrett confirmed the result with a late penalty, his first goal for the club. On the Saturday, Barnet won their first away game of the season as Albert Adomah scored the only goal of the game against Torquay United. Ahmed Deen and Clovis Kamdjo making their first starts for the club at Plainmoor. and the following Saturday, a very late, Jake Hyde goal gave Barnet a fine victory over much fancied Notts County at Underhill, Barnet’s third league win on the spin saw the club move up to 4th pace in the table, just two points behind leaders, Dagenham & Redbridge.
On the opening day of September, Barnet gave another fine display to progress in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, beating League One side, Millwall, comfortably 2-0 with goals from Ismail Yakubu and Jake Hyde. This game saw the return of John O’Flynn up front and was Barnet’s first ever win in this competition. The reward was a trip to play another London, League One Club, Charlton Athletic.
Three days later, Barnet went top of League Two for just a few short hours after winning 3-1 on a Friday night at Northampton after going 1-0 down. A fine Ahmed Deen free kick, his first goal for the club, brought the score level and a superb Paul Furlong strike followed by an opportunist goal from John O’Flynn. It was Barnet’s fifth win on the trot and sadly it turned out to be very much the highlight of the season.
A disappointing 1-1 draw away at Macclesfield followed and the Bees also drew the following match at home to Bradford City, the game ending 2-2 in an entertaining match in which Albert Adomah gave an outstanding second half performance. Mark Hughes and John O’Flynn scored the Barnet goals.
A very poor performance at Rotherham saw the Bees go down 3-0 at the Don Valley stadium for their first league defeat since the opening day of the season. The result saw Barnet slip down to 8th, but three days later, the Bees gave a much improved display at home to second placed, Dagenham & Redbridge, winning 2-0 with goals from Furlong and O’Flynn as the home side completely outplayed the Daggers, particularly in the first half when the game was essentially won. The win failed to lift Barnet back into the play-off positions but ended a run of three matches without a win and reaffirmed the impression that Ian Hendon’s side could have a real chance of making the play-offs this season.