Players On The Move: Izale McLeod (Part One)
Article by Jaybee
Updated Tuesday, 3rd July 2012
The latest in Barnet Mad's new series
Izale McLeod came to Barnet in the summer of 2010 to take advantage of the rehabilitation facilities at the Hive and eventually signed a one year contract with Barnet at the end of September 2010. However, Izale was still not fully fit and it wasn’t until November that McLeod made his first Barnet appearance, coming on as a substitute in the 1st round FA Cup replay at the Valley, a game Charlton won 1-0. Of course, the Valiants were McLeod’s previous club. Indeed be had scored the equaliser for Charlton in their 4-1 win the season before in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.
Izzy made his first Barnet start in December in the home game with Accrington in a match that the away side should have won, missing numerous chances against a poor Barnet side. However, it was the Bees that took all three points because of McLeod’s first two goals at Underhill, the first a superb run from his own half and excellent finish too. However, it was a rare win for the Bees who were struggling under manager, Mark Stimson.
McLeod scored in the next three games too against Stockport, Aldershot and Stevenage but all were lost and by the time of the Stevenage game, Mark Stimson had gone, replaced, temporarily, by Paul Fairclough.
With Barnet’s form not improving greatly, McLeod’s scoring rate somewhat slowed down after the initial burst of 5 goals in 4 matches. He scored a vital goal that gave the Bees appoint at Macclesfield in January and the match clinching goal in the topsy turvy 4-2 home win over Lincoln City in February, a win that turned out to be far ore important than it seemed at the time. Soon after, Izzy grabbed a brace atHerefordin a 2-1 win and scored the opening goal in a 2-1 win over Crewe at Underhill in April. By then, Martin Allen had returned to Underhill as manager and the Crewe win meant that Barnet had taken 7 points from 3 games under Allen as the Bees sought to perform a miracle escape from relegation to the Blue Square Premier.
However, a few days after the Crewe game, Allen left for Notts County and Giuliano Grazioli, made assistant manager by Allen, took over the reins; the fourth manager that McLeod had played under in his short stay at Barnet. A brilliant hat trick away at Gillingham followed in a 4-2 win – McLeod missed the chance of a fourth by missing a penalty – and preserved Barnet’s slim chances of staying up. By the last day of the season, the case was clear, Barnet needed to win at home to Port Vale while Lincoln City had to fail to beat Aldershot at home. Now you see how important that home win over Lincoln in February was!!
Of course, it all turned out well in the end for the Bees. Our man, McLeod won and finished off an early second half penalty and Lincoln duly lost 3-0 at home to Aldershot as Barnet fans – who, a few weeks earlier, had pretty much accepted relegation – went dizzy with delight.
McLeod finished top scorer for the Bees with 14 goals, even though he only played about half a season and in a struggling side and the question was; would Izzy stay for next season? Well find out in the last part of this two part article exclusive to Barnet Mad.