Vanarama National League – Proact Stadium – Saturday 25th August 2018 – KO 15:00
Barnet are yet to taste victory in the National League this season but will be hoping to put that behind them when they travel to Chesterfield tomorrow.
It was another bad day at the office for John Still’s men on Saturday after falling to a 3-0 home defeat at the hands of Ebbsfleet United. Danny Kedwell opened the scoring for the Fleet just shy of half-time before Corey Whitely added a second on 66 minutes. The points were sealed for the visitors two minutes from time after Sean Shields squeezed the ball home. The result meant the Barnet remained in the relegation zone.
However, attentions now turn to their visit to the Proact Stadium tomorrow as the Bees aim to clinch their first win of the new campaign and inflict Chesterfield’s third defeat on the bounce.
You only have to cast your mind back to three months ago to recall the last time Barnet faced Chesterfield. However, despite a comfortable win for the Bees, it proved to be a disappointing day for the club.
It was Barnet’s final game of last season and they ran out 3-0 winners but after Morecambe held Coventry to a 0-0 draw at the Ricoh Arena, the Bees faced relegation to the National League.
John Akinde opened the scoring three minutes before the break after latching onto Curtis Weston’s cross, heading the ball into the bottom corner of the Chesterfield net.
Richard Brindley doubled the hosts’ lead 10 minutes from time with a neat strike from the edge of the box before Alex Nicholls’ wonder goal seven minutes later completed the win.
Manager – Martin Allen
It’s safe to say, Martin Allen is no stranger to Barnet. Last season saw the 52-year-old re-appointed Bees boss for the fifth time in his 14-year managerial spell. However, after falling short of guiding his side to a remarkable escape from relegation, Allen decided to join Chesterfield who also faced the drop to the National League last season.
The former QPR, West Ham and Portsmouth midfielder began his managerial career at Reading, becoming assistant manager under Alan Pardew at the Royals.
However, it was Barnet who gave him his first taste of becoming a full manager in 2003 before leaving the club for Brentford at the latter stages of the 2003-04 season. In what remained of that campaign, Allen managed to save them from relegation and in his next two years at Griffin Park, he steered them to successive play-off semi-final finishes.
The Chesterfield boss then took charge of MK Dons, Leicester and Cheltenham before returning to Barnet in March 2011 but left after three games before joining Notts County for the remainder of the 2010-11 season, saving the Magpies from relegation.
Allen departed Meadow Lane in February 2012 before he was back at Barnet for a third time. This time, he was named caretaker boss for the Bees’ remaining matches of the 2011-12 season and helped them avoid dropping out of the Football League. Soon after the campaign concluded, Allen was on his way out, joining Gillingham on a two-year contract. In his first and only full season at the Gills, he guided them to promotion to League One and was named League Two Manager of the Year by the LMA.
March 2014 saw Allen make another return to Barnet where he helped them to the 2015 Conference title, securing promotion back to the Football League. After a positive first season back in League Two, Allen left for Eastleigh mid-way through the 2016/17 campaign with the Bees positioned just outside the play-off spots.
The Reading-born manager spent three months at the Spitfires before taking some time out of management. A little over a year later, he was back in the Bees dug-out for a fifth time, taking over from Graham Westley back in March. Despite turning Barnet’s performances around, he couldn’t guide them to safety. He decided against an extended stay at the club to moved to Chesterfield shortly after Barnet’s relegation was confirmed.
One to Watch: Zavon Hines
Zavon Hines joined the Spireites on an 18 month contract in January of this year after a successful spell at Maidstone United.
The 29-year-old forward has found the back of the net on three occasions so far this season, leading to Manager Martin Allen saying this week “his attitude has been outstanding, he has been unplayable at times.”
With an injury picked up recently to Charlie Carter, Chesterfield will be hoping that Hines can step up even more and fill that void.
Chesterfield go into tomorrow’s game with three wins under their belt in their opening five matches of the new season.
A 1-0 opening day victory over Ebbsfleet was followed up by a 3-0 triumph over Aldershot Town three days later.
Their impressive form continued when they hosted Braintree, clinching another clean sheet and three more points. The game ended 1-0 to the Spireites thanks to a 59th minute strike from former Bee Curtis Weston.
However, Allen’s side have dipped in form recently, suffering back-to-back 3-2 defeats. Barrow were the first to claim the scalp of Chesterfield this season after a goal from Jack Hindle and a brace from Tyler Smith making sure the points were theirs. It was de ja vu for the Spireites four days later after finding themselves on the receiving end of the same score-line when they visited newly-promoted Salford.
Chesterfield are currently in eighth in the standings, level on points with Harrogate who occupy the last play-off spot.
Manager Allen won’t be the only Spireite coming up against his former club tomorrow afternoon. Curtis Weston is one man who followed the former Barnet manager to the Proact Stadium this summer after spending six years with the Bees. Signing in 2012 from Gillingham, the 31-year-old went on to make over 200 appearances for the club and was also part of our Conference winning side of 2015. Weston also wore the captain’s armband during his time with the Bees and found the net 25 times.
Former Barnet defender Michael Nelson will also come up against familiar faces this weekend having signed for Chesterfield in the summer. The 38-year-old arrived at The Hive in 2015 following his release from Cambridge United and went on to take up several roles at the club. Alongside his duties on the pitch, Nelson was also the club’s U23 coach before being appointed assistant manager under Westley. However, when Allen re-joined the club last season, he regained his position on the pitch for the remainder of the campaign. The experienced defender made over 100 appearances for the Bees.
Spireite Sam Muggleton joined Barnet permanently in 2014 following a loan spell from Gillingham. The 22-year-old was part of our triumphant Conference winning squad of 2015 and went on to make over 60 appearances before joining Allen at Eastleigh in January 2017. Muggleton reunited with his former boss this summer, signing for Chesterfield on a one-year deal.
As for Barnet, summer signing Byron Harrison spent a season-and-a-half at Chesterfield. Signing in January 2015, the striker made 12 appearances for the club during the remainder of the 2014-15 campaign. However, he became surplus to requirements the season after and was released from the club in May 2016.
Assistant manager Darren Currie will also head to one of his former stomping grounds tomorrow after spending two years with the Spireites from 2008 to 2010. The former midfielder made over 30 appearances for the club, finding the net five times.
Barnet take on Chesterfield at the Proact Stadium this Saturday, 25th August at 3pm. Live commentary with Jonathan Blakie and Aarron Pullen will be available on iBarnet.