Akinde brothers scorefour as Bees start with a win.Barnet kicked off their pre-season schedule on Saturday with a convincing 6-1 win over Hungerford Town at The Hive.
The Bees fielded a different side in each half, both of which featured a mix of established first team players, new signings and youngsters as the entire squad helped to comfortably overcome the Evo-Stik League Southern side.
Barnet XI (first half): Kai McKenzie-Lyle; Gavin Hoyte, Bondz N’Gala, Tamille Roache, Sam Muggleton; Mauro Vilhete, Fumnaya Shomotun, Sam Togwell, Luke Gambin; John Akinde, Michael Gash.
John Akinde captained the side during the first half, and last season’s Player of the Year wasted no time in picking up exactly where he left off last season by giving Barnet the lead in familiar circumstances with quarter of an hour gone.
After receiving the ball to feet on the outskirts of the area, the big striker took one touch to control before wheeling away from his marker and being clipped by a second defender as he strode into the box – picking himself up to calmly convert the resulting penalty.
The goal was a timely reward for the Bees’ early domination, and it soon brought another four minutes later created by a lovely team move.
Some neat passing in midfield was punctuated by a delightful back-heeled flick from the effervescent Fumnaya Shomotun – one of eight Academy graduates to sign a first professional contract with the club this week – which was collected by new signing Gavin Hoyte who swung a perfect cross onto the head of Akinde to power past the keeper.
By this stage the floodgates were open, as Akinde went on to complete a six-minute hat-trick with a pinpoint side-footed finish from the edge of the area into the bottom right-hand corner of the net.
Mauro Vilhete then hit the crossbar with an exquisite long-range curling effort that the goalkeeper could only tip onto the woodwork, as Hungerford stemmed the tide by registering the next goal on the half-hour mark with Stefan Brown rounding McKenzie-Lyle in goal and slotting into an empty net after Barnet had lost possession in their own defensive third.
Luke Gambin was the next to go close, unleashing a fearsome drive from all of thirty yards which was once again palmed onto the crossbar before being gathered at the second attempt by the goalkeeper.
Yet when it went to spectacular strikes, Sam Togwell went one better shortly before the break to restore the Bees’ three-goal cushion – seeing the goalkeeper off his line and firing a loose ball over his head and into the net from just beyond the halfway line.
Barnet XI (second half): Chris Haigh; Andy Yiadom, Joe Gater, Bira Dembele, Elliott Johnson; Justin Nwogu (Harry Taylor 70), Curtis Weston, Tom Champion, Ben Tomlinson; Mathew Stevens, Sam Akinde.
Martin Allen sent an entirely new side out for the second half, featuring three new arrivals in Bira Dembele, Tom Champion and Ben Tomlinson along with two trialists in the shape of former Gillingham and Crawley goalkeeper Chris Haigh and Sam Akinde – younger brother of John.
In truth the second half was a much more disjointed affair with genuine chances proving few and far between, the first of which came of 55 minutes when Dembele nodded a corner high and wide at the back post.
Barnet made their twelfth change of the day with twenty minutes remaining, replacing winger Justin Nwogu with another Academy graduate in Harry Taylor as Andy Yiadom pushed forward into midfield.
Yet it was another Youth Team player in Mathew Stevens who quickly got himself on the scoresheet, providing yet more proof of his predatory instincts with a bicycle-kick finish over the keeper after pouncing on a bouncing ball.
The seventeen-year-old nearly grabbed another five minutes later, but he could only guide Elliott Johnson’s fired cross against the post.
Yet there was still time for one more goal, as Sam Akinde sprung the offside trap before racing clear and stroking beyond the keeper for the Akinde brothers’ fourth goal of the afternoon to wrap up an entertaining first run-out.