Match Preview: Exeter City (H)
EFL League Two
The Hive London
Saturday, October 15, 2016 – KO 3.00pm
Team News: Barnet have three long-term absentees in Michael Gash, James Pearson and Gavin Hoyte who are all at varying stages of their recovery from knee injuries.
Midfielder Sam Togwell joined Barnet’s injury list this week and underwent surgery on a hernia on Thursday. He is expected to be out for six weeks. For a full update, click here.
Last Time We Met: The Bees drew 1-1 at St James Park in March in an end-of-season affair which saw Harry Taylor and Justin Amaluzor handed starts for Barnet.
Jayden Stockley headed the Grecians in front after 20 minutes after meeting Matt Oakley’s cross. Barnet levelled seven minutes later when Elliott Johnson crossed for Curtis Weston to loop a header over Bobby Olejnik.
In the second half Martin Allen’s men had the chance to win it when John Akinde was bundled over inside the penalty area by Oakley. But City keeper Olejnik second guessed the striker’s penalty and saved low to his right.
Manager: Paul Tisdale, 43, is the second longest-serving manager in the EFL having been Exeter boss since June 2006.
The Valletta-born boss, who began his playing career at Southampton in 1987, has had the opportunity to leave St James’ Park on more than one occasion but has remained loyal to the Grecians.
Known for his sartorial elegance on the touchline, as well as the attractive style of play he preaches, Tisdale began his coaching career with Team Bath – the Bath University team – in 2000.
In 2002 Bath became the first university team to enter the FA Cup since Gonville and Caius in 1881 and they reached the first round proper before losing to Mansfield Town.
After winning four promotions with Team Bath Tisdale was handed the Exeter City job in June 2006.
The Grecians won the Conference Play-Off Final in 2008 and were promoted to League One the following the season, an achievement which won Tisdale the League Two Manager of the Year title.
Exeter stayed up in their first season in League One before finishing eighth the following year – the highest league finish in the club’s history. But they were relegated in 2012 and have not finished higher than tenth in four seasons since.
Dangerman: Winger Lee Holmes, 29, joined the Grecians on a permanent basis last May, following an initial loan spell, and has established himself as an important part of Tisdale’s side since.
Holmes started his career with Derby County and was the club’s youngest player when he made his debut aged 15 years and 268 days. He later became the club’s youngest scorer, aged just 16, and made 52 appearances in six years at Pride Park
The diminutive left winger took in loan spells with Swindon Town, Bradford City and Walsall in that time before joining Southampton on a free transfer upon his release by the Rams.
But in four years at St Mary’s Holmes made just 13 league starts and, even after relegation to League One, there was no place in the side for Holmes who was sent out on loan to Swindon Town and Oxford United.
After a frustrating time with the Saints he joined Preston North End and made 60 league appearances in three years at Deepdale.
It was clear he would be moving on at the end of his contract though, having spent the final months of the 2014/15 campaign on loan at Exeter. In January he scored direct from a corner as the Grecians drew 2-2 with Premier League outfit Liverpool in the FA Cup.
Connections: Winger Alex Nicholls joined the Bees from Exeter City this summer after spending two years at St James Park.
The 28-year-old made 74 appearances in all competitions for the Grecians, scoring 13 goals.
City have winger Jack Stacey on loan from Reading. The 20-year-old spent time on loan at Barnet last winter, making two appearances before ending the season on loan at Carlisle United.
Further back, Irish striker John O’Flynn spent two seasons with the Bees from 2008-2010, winning the club’s Player of the Season award, before moving to Exeter. In his first season he hit 18 in 36 before following that up with 16 in 41.
O’Flynn did not prove quite so successful at St James Park but still scored 23 times in 69 league starts for the Grecians before returning to Ireland in 2014.
Sean Devine was another striker to turn out for both, netting 47 times in just 113 starts for Barnet between 1995 and 1999.
He moved to Wycombe Wanderers for £200,000 before switching to Exeter in January 2003 and bagging 39 goals in 70 starts.
Defender Shaun Gale also represented both clubs in the 90s, making more than 100 appearances for Barnet between 1994 and 1997 before completing a £10,000 switch to Exeter City and spending three years with the Grecians.
Last Time Out: City just came up short on Saturday as they drew 0-0 with Grimsby Town at St James Park in a game they ought to have won.
Holmes and Reuben Reid went close for Exeter early on before Luke Croll had a header cleared off the line for the hosts.
In the second half Reid hit the crossbar before firing over the bar from close range after a Pierce Sweeney shot ran into his path.
Robbie Simpson went close late on, but could not find a way through the resolute Mariners defence when a corner fell to him at the back post.
Exeter City (4-4-2): Pym; Sweeney, Croll, Moore-Taylor, Woodman; Wheeler, James, Taylor, Holmes; Reid, Simpson.
Ticket info: This match is part of our fantastic Three For £3/£30 offer. Concessions booking their tickets on the South Terrace in advance can see three games for £3 while adults can see three games for just £30. Click the image below for more information:
Supporters can order tickets for tomorrow’s match from our online box office, or by arriving early and buy on the day from The Hive ticket office.