Bees On The Move: Izale McLeod (Part Two)
Article by Jaybee
Updated Thursday, 9th August 2012
The latest in Barnet Mad's new series
After some expectation that he would be signed by a League One club, or a more prestigious League Two one, McLeod remained at Underhill for a second season. Barnet made an encouraging start to the season and Izzy was son amongst the goals scoring twice in a home 2-2 midweek draw against Gillingham, the second a very late goal that rescued a much deserved point for the Bees.
McLeod scored again on the Saturday in another 2-2 draw, this time at Rotherham and like the Gillingham match, one that Barnet could easily have won. Certainly early on in the season, McLeod was prolific in front of goals soon adding another brace, this time in a very disappointing 4-2 defeat at Bradford City. He followed this with a goal in each of his next three games; at Colchester in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy in an impressive 3-1 win, in a 3-1 away league defeat at Crewe and in a 2-0 home victory over Plymouth.
Barnet’s cup form was good but at the same time their league form was deteriorating. After the Plymouth match, McLeod had 8 goals from 10 games. Not a bad return in a struggling side. In fact, McLeod had something of a barren spell in the league after this, though he scored another brace; this time at Gillingham in the JPT in a game which Barnet won 3-1, bringing his goal tally up to 10. McLeod missed a penalty in this game as well and missed another in the 3-0 home defeat by Southend United later in the month.
However, in the league, McLeod went 7 matches without a goal until he scored in the 1-1 draw at AFC Wimbledon that followed the dreadful 6-3 home mauling at the hands of Burton Albion at the end of October. Izzy then scored in the impressive 2-0 away win at Cheltenham Town in the JPT quarter final and then had a lively spell scoring four goals in 3 games; away at Bristol Rovers when the Bees won 2-0, both goals in a 2-1 win at home to Macclesfield Town and the sole Barnet goal in a 3-1 home defeat by MK Dons in the 2nd round of the FA Cup. This spell took McLeod’s tally up to 16 and it was only the beginning of December. Could Izzy end up the season with over 30 goals?
Two goals in the 2-2 home draw with Cheltenham in the middle of December took McLeod’s tally to 18 before the half way point of the season. Unfortunately, things didn’t quite pan out as expected and McLeod’s season rather fizzled out, certainly in terms of goals and even his general form which wasn’t helped by the frankly bizarre heckling that many fans took part in, even though without McLeod, Barnet would have been playing in the Blue Square Premier. Possibly too, McLeod was frustrated still being at a club which hadn’t lived up to the early season promise and was languishing deep in the bottom half of the table.
McLeod scored the clinching goal at home in the 2-0 win over Bristol Rovers that gave the Bees the double over the Pirates and was his first goal of 2012. After that, McLeod having been so prolific in the first few months of the season as his confidence and focus seemed to drop off. Many fans felt that McLeod looked disinterested and that this seemed more apparent after the Bees lost to Swindon Town in the Southern Area Final of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy in early February. In fact, McLeod only scored 3 more goals after the Bristol Rovers home game over a period of 4 months; against Crewe in the 2-0 home win at the end of January, in the 2-1 home defeat by Shrewsbury in February and finally, his last goal for the Bees, in the 2-2 home draw with Dagenham & Redbridge in March. McLeod failed to score in the last 9 appearances for the club, but came on as a substitute in the final game at Burton Albion that saw Barnet’s League Two place secured.
Izale McLeod had done so much the previous season to maintain Barnet’s league status and even though his goalscoring form badly tailed off in the second half of last season - only 4 goals in 24 appearances in 2012 - his goals in the first half of the season were still a large factor in maintaining Barnet as a League Two side. Anyway, without McLeod’s contribution in 2010/11, the whole of last season would have been played in the Blue Square Premier.
In all, Izale scored 36 goals in 83 first team appearances for Barnet in just over 1 ½ seasons. At the end of last season, he, along with Sam Deering, was voted Barnet Player of the Year for 2011/12. It was the least he could expect. Like Jason Puncheon and Albert Adomah in recent seasons, Izzy’s time at Underhill should be remembered fondly. Barnet Mad wishes him all the best for the future.