Guiliano Grazioli - A Tribute
Feature by Jaybee
Updated Wednesday, 4th July 2012
Season 2005/06 - Back In The League
Barnet were back in the league after an absence of 4 years and hopes were high that Paul Fairclough's mix of youngsters and experienced heads would have a good season, maybe even challenge for the play-offs. Bees' fans were also hoping that Guiliano Grazioli could carry on where he had left off in the previous two seasons in the Conference and show that he could be just as effective in League Two.
Paul Fairclough had introduced anew system at the start of 2005/06 with Barnet playing a 4-5-1 system with Graz playing the role of loan striker and no place for Liam Hatch, who was, anyway, struggling to get fit. As the season got underway, it seemed to work too. After drawing the first match at home to Bristol Rovers, Barnet won away at promotion hopefuls, Northampton Town, Graz playing his part in the build up to Dean Sinclair's excellent equaliser and then Barnet travelled to Carlisle, who had come up with Barnet from the Conference. The Bees won a second away win on the trot, winning 3-1, Graz scoring the winner, sliding in from close in following Nicky Bailey's cross.
Further wins followed at home to Macclesfield and away at Bristol City in the league cup as Barnet went top of League Two and won through to a 2nd round home tie with Championship club, Plymouth Argyle in the league cup. However, Barnet lost their next home match to Grimsby Town and rapidly slumped down the table.
Still, Graz began getting amongst the goals, starting with two at home to Leyton Orient. The first goal was in the opening minute, as Graz latched on to a cross from Dean Sinclair to score from close in. Unfortunately, Orient scored three after that and not even a late, second goal by Graz, slammed home from close range, could salvage a point for the Bees.
Barnet had better luck in the league cup, beating Plymouth Argyle 2-1, with Graz scoring a second half winner. A lobbed through ball from Dean Sinclair put Graz through and he perfectly chipped the keeper to send the Bees through to a 3rd round tie at Old Trafford against the mighty Manchester United!!
Three days later and Graz was at it again scoring a late equaliser in a 1-1 home draw with Rochdale. Graz headed home after the goalkeeper had dropped a long cross into the penalty area. Graz now had 5 goals from 12 games, not a bad haul considering he was playing most of the time up front on his own.
Graz scored his 6th goal of the season at home to Chester in a poor 3-1 home defeat, a typical opportunist goal from about a foot out. However, Graz then found goals very difficult to come by experiencing a long goal drought as Barnet, slowly, began to improve and start to pick up points again after a terrible run of 11 games without a win.
Unlucky to have a goal disallowed at Old Trafford in Barnet's 4-1 league cup defeat, Graz's next goal didn't arrive until January when he came on as a substitute at home to Cheltenham Town. His 7th goal of the season came following a fine cross by Ben Strevens which Graz headed home well at the far post. Four days later, he scored his 8th, putting Barnet ahead at Lincoln City, though the Imps went on to win 4-1. Dean Sinclair split the Lincoln defence and found Grazioli who put a perfectly placed shot into the right hand corner of the net.
It was to prove the last goal of the season for Graz as injury and poor form meant that he failed to start in any of the last 10 games of the season, as Barnet managed to aviod relegation back to the Conference. Even so, disappointing as the season may have been, Grazioli still finished the season as Barnet's top league scorer with 8 goals and joint overall top scorer with Nicky Bailey.
In the last part of this series on Graz's career we will be looking at how he fared for Barnet in his last two seasons at the club.