Vanarama National League – The Hive London – Saturday 11th August – KO 15:00
The Bees continue their search for their first win of the season when they play host to Eastleigh tomorrow.
John Still’s men return to The Hive off the back of a 1-1 draw with Braintree Town on Tuesday where Shaq Coulthirst levelled proceedings just past the hour mark after Jack Taylor’s 34th-minute own goal.
The result meant Barnet were left frustrated again after walking away without maximum points but the Bees will be aiming for a different outcome this time around.
Barnet put an end to Eastleigh’s four-match winning streak and returned to the top of the conference table last time these two met back in 2015, claiming a 2-1 victory at the Silverlake Stadium.
Curtis Weston broke the deadlock just shy of the half-hour mark, volleying the ball low and hard from the edge of the area before finding the back of the net via a wicked deflection.
Barnet entered the break a goal in front but quickly doubled their lead when play resumed for the second period. Elliott Johnson did well to keep the ball from going out for a goal kick before feeding John Akinde in the box who turned and blasted the ball into the far corner of the Eastleigh net.
The hosts hoped to spark a comeback 12 minutes from time when Ben Strevens netted from the spot after Sam Muggleton brought down Jai Reason in the area. However, the Bees saw out a victory that saw them regain top spot.
Manager – Andy Hessenthaler:
Andy Hessenthaler arrived at Eastleigh to take on the role of assistant manager behind Richard Hill last year. However, when the latter decided to move to a full-time director of football position in December, it made way for the former midfielder to take over as his successor.
The 52-year-old began his managerial tenure 18 years ago when he sat at the helm of Gillingham in a player-manager capacity. Hessenthaler also took charge at Dover whilst still in his playing career back in 2007 before announcing his retirement three years later. He then resigned from his managerial role at The Whites shortly after.
In his first stint as a full-time manager, Hessenthaler returned to newly-relegated League Two side Gillingham in 2010 before taking over as director of football two years later. However, with a view to another stab at management, he left his role a year later, staying with the Gills but this time back as
an assistant manager under Peter Taylor. Hessenthaler then became joint caretaker manager in 2014 before leaving the club for Leyton Orient in 2015.
The former Watford player then rose from assistant manager to head boss yet again at the O’s and then again at current side Eastleigh a year later.
Hessenthaler is also no stranger to Barnet. The Dartford-born manager made 40 league appearances for the Bees, scoring two goals in the year he spent at Underhill.
One to Watch: Paul McCallum
Striker Paul McCallum began his career at Dulwich Hamlet, progressing through the youth team to the senior side. After becoming a prolific goalscorer at the club, the forward attracted interest from 14 sides from the Premier League, EFL and Scottish Premier League, one of which being West Ham United.
The Hammers captured his signature in 2011 but during his four-year stay in East London, he failed to make an appearance and was sent out on loan multiple times.
McCallum impressed in spells at Wimbledon, Aldershot and Torquay and also made a name for himself in West Ham’s development squad. He also had loan spells at Rochdale, Hearts and Portsmouth but failed to find the net and endured injuries and suspensions.
His next destination after West Ham was Leyton Orient where he bagged 15 goals in over 40 appearances in two seasons before signing for Eastleigh in the summer of last year. During his time with the Spitfires so far, McCallum has eight goals to his name, including a penalty strike on the opening day of this season.
Eastleigh’s number nine will undoubtedly pose a real danger to the Bees’ back line on Saturday. Alongside his eye for goal, McCallum can use his strength to glide past defenders and John Still’s men will also have to be wary of his aerial threat too. His ability to find the net with both his feet and his head means he could be a real menace from set pieces as well as open play when he comes up against the Bees.
Similarly to Barnet, Eastleigh also enter tomorrow’s game on the hunt for their first victory of the new season. The Spitfires, who finished last campaign in 14th place, travel to North London off the back of two defeats.
Despite McCallum’s 77th minute penalty on the opening day of the season last weekend, two late Solihull goals in the final 10 minutes meant maximum points went to The Moors.
Hessenthaler’s side then travelled to Sutton United three days later hoping for a better outcome but it ended 1-0 to the hosts courtesy of a Jamie Collins penalty just past the half-hour mark.
The Bees enter Saturday’s clash on better form but they’ll undoubtedly be prepared for Eastleigh to go all out in their aim to pick up their first point of the campaign.
Eastleigh goalkeeper Graham Stack will witness familiar surroundings when he returns to the Hive tomorrow afternoon. The 36-year-old signed for Barnet from Hibernian and went on to make 129 appearances for the Bees and was part of our title winning Conference side of 2015. Stack was also made captain in the 2013-14 campaign and suffered the relegation heartache of 2013 with us too. The shot-stopper departed the Bees in 2016 before moving to India to become joint player/goalkeeping coach at Kerala Blasters. Stack is now embarking on his third season with Eastleigh and is likely to start between the sticks tomorrow under fellow ex-Bee Hessenthaler.
Fellow Spitfires goalkeeper Ross Flitney is another former Barnet man. After signing from Fulham in 2005, the 34-year-old went on to make over 50 appearances for the club in a two-year spell before departing for Grays Athletic. Flitney is currently occupying a player/goalkeeping coach role at Eastleigh after returning to the club last year.
Also, both of Eastleigh's management team are former Bees. Manager Andy Hessenthaler played for Barnet between 2006 and 2007 and his Assitant Ben Strevens played over 200 games for the club between 1999 and 2006.