Yannick Bolasie has re-joined Championship club, Plymouth Argyle after his six months loan spell ended on Saturday. Bolasie’s last match was due to be the away League Two fixture at Shrewsbury Town but this was, of course, called off due to the recent snow.
Bolasie was a popular figure at Underhill and he first arrived on loan from Plymouth last January as one of Ian Hendon’s first loan signings. Bolasie had already had a loan spell at Rushden & Diamonds. His first game for the Bees was as a substitute in the 1-1 draw at Accrington Stanley. He made his home debut against Shrewsbury Town, again as a substitute and then made his full debut in the exciting 3-3 home draw with Grimsby Town where he scored with an absolute screamer of a goal, his first for the Bees.
Bolasie could often look awkward. He was right footed but, initially at least, played on the left, the position that best seemed to suit him. He sometimes seemed to be ‘all legs’, but he often confused opponents defences and he quickly became a key part in Barnet’s fight against relegation last season. Ian Hendon took the opportunity to extend his loan until April. Bolasie scored in both the next two home games for the Bees. He got the all important third goal which saw off Bradford City in a terrific 4-1 home win and then grabbed a late, late winner which gave the resurgent Bees a 2-1 win over Rochdale.
Surprisingly, Bolasie failed to add to his tally of goals before the end of the season, but he endeared himself to the East Terrace with some excellent performances and his willingness to get back and fight for the ball when opponents were attacking. He made 17 starts and another 3 appearances as a substitute, scoring 3 goals before he returned to Plymouth.
During the summer, Ian Hendon was quick to engage his services, this time on a six month loan deal. Bolasie made his first start of the season playing up front alongside Paul Furlong at Lincoln, due to John O’Flynn being out through injury. However, Bolasie had competition in the form of recently signed, former Gillingham winger, Albert Jarrett and lost his place for awhile before re-gaining it for the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy win over Millwall. As the season wore on, Bolasie began to be played more on the right hand side of the pitch with Jarrett playing on the left and the change did not really seem to suit Yannick who started to struggle for form. The switch seemed odd as it came fairly soon after Bolasie gave a mesmerising performance in the 3-0 home victory over Grimsby, winning a penalty for the first goal, the free kick that lead to the second goal and scoring the third. Bolasie’s second goal of the season, and as it turned out, his last for the club, came in the 3-0 home win over Darlington in November.
More recently, Bolasie found himself more and more on the bench and must have been frustrated at not getting more of a chance to start on the left side of the midfield, even though the team’s performances were becoming more and more disappointing as the first half of the season has wore on. Typically, his last appearance for the Bees was as a substitute in the Christmas home game with Northampton, being brought on after Dean Sinclair was sent off and used as a striker.
Many Bees’ fans were frustrated at the fact that Bolasie was not used more often in his best position on the left. It is no criticism of Albert Jarrett to say that the team seemed to play better when he was played as a left sided midfield player and no coincidence maybe that the recent poor run of form that started with the 5-1 hammering at Cheltenham began when Bolasie was moved over to the right side to accommodate Jarrett. As the end of Bolasie’s loan period came nearer it looked less and less likely that he would want to have it extended as he must have thought that he wasn’t really being given a fair crack of the whip by Ian Hendon, certainly during this second loan spell.
Bolasie made 31 league starts for the Bees with another 11 appearances as a substitute and scored 5 goals. He also made 6 appearances in cup tournaments for the Bees, including the FA Cup, Carling Cup and Johnstone’s Paint Trophy. Many fans at Underhill will sad to see him go and I’m sure that all Barnet fans wish him all the best for the future.