A brilliant away win at Nuneaton by an inexperienced Barnet side was followed by a creditable home draw against Braintree on Easter Monday. Ordinarily 4 points from those two games would not have been bad going, but sadly it was not enough to put the Bees back into contention for the play offs. The game against Lincoln City at the weekend will be the last of this season.
Those Bees lucky enough to be at both Easter games will have seen two cracking Barnet goals. The first was an unlikely 25 yard effort from on loan central defender Valentin Gjokaj. Perhaps he was trying to outdo his central defensive partner David Stephens, who scored a cracking volley up at Grimsby earlier in the season! The second was rather more predictably a superb KMB effort which he effortlessly curled into the top corner. A touch of class from Keanu, as we have come to expect from Marsh-Brown. No doubt the club will be doing all they can to retain his services for next season.
Speaking of retaining top players, it’s great news that David Stephens, Andy Yiadom and Luisma Villa will all be at The Hive next season. Once Martin Allen has had a final chance to look at the players in action on Saturday, the club may well make further announcements on player retention and recruitment. With Jack Saville departing (and Anthony Acheampong having left earlier in the season), a central defensive partner for Stephens is likely to be high on the list of priorities. Jon Nurse is also leaving Barnet after two years. His goals on the pitch and his experience off it have both been invaluable this season – I remember him grabbing the winning goal on a rather miserable away day at Hyde just before Christmas! Barnet fans will wish him, and the loan players that departed this week, all the best. The manager has great experience at this level and will no doubt make some shrewd additions over the Summer to boost the squad.
But for now the attention should turn to Lincoln and our final game. The home game against the Imps was a frustrating one, in which we really should have taken all three points. A last minute equaliser denied Barnet the victory (90 + 5!) and it would be good to get some revenge for that result up in Lincolnshire on Saturday. Barnet could slip down to 10th if results do not go their way, a league finish I don’t think the club would deserve (or welcome) in their first season back in the Conference. With players’ futures at the club at stake, the Bees will want to put in maximum effort for the final game so that the season ends on a high note and fans can go into the second season in the Conference and at The Hive with full optimism. Martin Allen will demand nothing less.