Bees On The Move: Mark Marshall
Article by Jaybee
Updated Thursday, 26th July 2012
The latest in Barnet Mad's new series
Mark Marshall arrived at Underhill in the summer of 2010 as a trial player in pre-season matches with Barnet under new management in the form of former Gillingham boss, Mark Stimson. After impressing in trial games, Marshall, a fast nippy winger seen as a replacement for Albert Jarrett, was signed by Stimson.
Marshall had previously been with Swindon Town and had a loan spell with Hereford United the previous season so had a certain amount of league experience. He settled in well at Underhill and it soon became clear that here was a player who could both create chances for other players and score a few goals too.
Despite Barnet’s poor start to the season, Marshall flourished at Underhill and was beginning to pick up attention from other clubs. Marshall opened his goal account at Underhill with a fine free kick from outside the box to earn a point at home to Bury after coming on as a substitute. It was the only game of Marshall’s first season at Barnet that he failed to start.
The following Saturday, Marshall was on the score sheet again as he ran on to a Steve Kabba through ball and went round the keeper to place the ball into an empty net to make the score 3-1 to Barnet against Cheltenham Town.
However, it was a rare win for the Bees and by the time Marshall scored again, the Bees were in the relegation zone. The goal came against fellow strugglers, Hereford United at Underhill and it was Kabba again who played Marshall in to score neatly from inside the penalty area as Barnet won 2-0.
Barnet continued to struggle and looked likely to be in a relegation dog fight for the second year running. Barnet were spending much of the first half of the season in the relegation zone. Marshall despite his clear ability was often frustrating and perhaps did not score enough goals. His next goal was in December away at Oxford United where Marshall scored from close in to put Barnet ahead but Oxford came back to win 2-1.
Poor results followed and Stimson was sacked and by the time of Marshall’s next goal, Paul Fairclough was back in charge with the Bees still in the bottom two. Marshall created the first Bees’ goal with some fine wing play for Izale McLeod and then scored a fine individual goal himself. Sadly the two goals came after Stevenage had gone 4-0 up. Barnet slumped to the bottom of the table, but Marshall was showing good form in spite of his sides dreadful form.
By the time of Marshall’s sixth and final goal of the season, Barnet were fighting to stay alive in league Two and looking for a win at Accrington under new manager, Giuliano Grazioli. Sadly, Accrington won 3-1 despite Marshall levelling with a typical feisty goal from close range. Happily, a win at home in the next match against Port Vale kept the Bees up and Marshall despite being wooed by other clubs stayed at Underhill.
Last season, hopes were much higher under Lawrie Sanchez, but after a bright, initial start hopes faded along with the team’s form and there were rumours that Barnet’s best players, including Mark Marshall would leave in the January transfer window. Marshall was even being linked with West Ham.
Marshall’s form became frustratingly erratic and he was left out of the starting line up for the home game against Burton Albion, coming on as a substitute in an embarrassing 6-3 thrashing. As in 2010/11, Marshall started every other game but, though an improvement on the previous season, it was proving very disappointing for the Bees’ fans. Marshall’s goals largely dried up too. He scored just three; a fine individual goal in the Johnstone’s Paint trophy at Gillingham which the Bees won 3-1 and then a few days later at Shrewsbury Town in League Two with an excellent individual goal which only made one think as to why he just didn’t score more often. His last goal was again in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy in the 2-0 away win at Cheltenham Town in November, Marshall scoring direct from a free kick which was driven through the wall.
Sadly, it turned out to be the last goal that Marshall scored for the Bees. In January, Marshall was suspended by the club for failing a drugs test and later he was banned by the FA for two years. His last game for Barnet was in the 3-0 away win at Accrington in January. At the end of the season, his contract with Barnet expired and, not unexpectedly, Marshall was released by the club.
A very sad ending to what was, on the whole, a very good time for Marshall at the club. Despite his inconsistencies and how frustrating he could be there was no doubt that he was greatly missed in the second half of the season. After the Accrington game, Barnet took just 14 points from the next 19 games and but for Martin Allen’s cameo at the end of the season which brought victory in the last two games, Barnet would have gone down.
Marshall scored 9 goals in 84 games for the Bees and hopefully, when he has served his ban he can resurrect his career which has seen so promising.