Match Preview: County v Barnet

County will have the chance to immediately get the disappointment of Saturday’s defeat out of their system on Tuesday night, as we return to Edgeley Park against the Bees of Barnet.

That 2-1 reversal at Notts County brought our mini-winning streak in the National League to an abrupt end as we lost ground on the sides above us. We remain in 10th place in the league table, five points shy of a play-off place with a game in hand, and 12 behind league leaders Grimsby after their 2-0 win against Yeovil.

With 9th place Altrincham hosting 7th place Solihull, and 8th place Notts County going head to head with Bromley in 6th, victory tomorrow would see County close in on the top seven as we look to get our promotion challenge back on track.

Barnet had an unbeaten run of their own come to an end at the weekend, as they lost 3-0 at home to Phil Parkinson’s Wrexham, their first defeat in the National League in five games. That defeat leaves them in 18th going into this one, two points above the relegation zone.

Our Opponents:

Last season was one to forget for the North London side as they finished rock bottom of the National League after a turbulent season on an of the pitch.

Despite finishing in the play-offs (on points-per-game) in 2019/20, losing to Notts County in the semi-final, the Bees won just eight of their 42 league fixtures last season, losing 27 times and finishing on 31 points.

Extraordinarily, they also had five different managers take charge over the course of the season as they struggled to find any consistency. Having started the season with Peter Beadle, he was replaced in December by former Solihull boss Tim Flowers.

A late goal from Derby loanee Jack Stretton proved the difference when we met Barnet at Edgeley Park last season

He lasted just a few months, losing ten of his 11 games in charge, with England C boss Paul Fairclough and the club’s Head of Performance Gary Anderson both having interim spells in charge. They finally finished the season with former Wimbledon midfielder Simon Bassey in interim charge.

Fortunately for them however, the null and voiding of the National League North and South in January meant there was no relegation last season, and despite a bizarre year, their place in this year’s National League was safe.

Keen to avoid a repeat season, and a drop into the National League South, the side underwent a major revamp over the close-season.

With Bassey also departing his role to join Portsmouth as assistant coach, Harry Kewell was appointed as the new man in charge at The Hive, with the former Crawley boss bringing close to 20 new players in during the Summer, with just as many departing at the same time in a total change of direction for the side.

A 5-0 thrashing at home to Notts County on opening day set the tone for Kewell’s ultimately brief spell in charge as the side lost five and drew two of his opening seven games, with only Dover’s 12-point deduction keeping them off the bottom of the table when the Australian was relieved of his duties.

Antoni Sarcevic made his debut off the bench on Saturday, and could make his first start on Tuesday night

The statement from the club at the time stated that the club’s aim remained to be in the top half of the table, and results have begun to improve under the interim management of Dean Brennan.

The former Wealdstone boss is also the Club’s ‘Head of Football’, and got off to a winning start with a 3-1 home victory against Weymouth. After draws with high flying Halifax and relegation rivals King’s Lynn, the Bees followed that up by winning 2-1 at Dover to make it four games unbeaten for the new boss.

Their progress has stalled in the last couple of weeks, exiting the FA Cup to Boreham Wood before that heavy home defeat to Wrexham, but the run has still been enough to lift them out of the bottom three and revived hopes of remaining in the league next season.

Match Stats:

  • Barnet currently have the worst defensive record in the National League, conceding 25 goals in their 12 games so far this season.
  • Having failed to win our first three home games this season, we have now won three on the bounce, and are looking for four in a row in all competitions for the first time since December last year.
  • County are unbeaten in our last six games against Barnet, doing the double over them last season. In 15 previous meetings, we have won seven to Barnet’s four.

Our Match Sponsor for this game will be our official golf partner, Stockport Golf Club. We’d like to thank them again for their fantastic support.

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