There’s always a fixture each season that sends shivers down the spine. You’ll all have your own game, no matter who you support, that you look at and shudder. For me, it’s Barnet away, something that I wouldn’t ever have predicted back in December 2006. On that occasion I was accompanied by Jamie, the Honorary Cobbler, to a Town game for the first time and after a couple of good pints, a cardboard hot dog and a 1-0 win he fell in love with his new second team.
But three visits later and the Underhill trip has become treacherous for the Cobblers. Twice in the last three games between the sides at the home of the sloping stand we’ve left on the back of a 4-1 defeat with a goalless draw against ten men sandwiched in between.
So it’s with some trepidation that I look ahead to Barnet away once more!
Barnet are struggling again and this time it’s former Northern Ireland boss Lawrie Sanchez who is looking to steer them clear of danger. They were beaten 4-0 at Swindon last weekend and also suffered a 2-0 home reverse by Oxford two weeks ago, leaving them in 21st place in League Two.
The Cobblers were under the cosh a little last weekend but still came away with a first home win of the season against Dagenham and Redbridge. Town have been more productive on the road, picking up over half of our points away from home.
Left back Gary Borrowdale joined Barnet this morning on loan from Premier League new boys QPR and goes straight into the squad to meet the Cobblers. Borrowdale could go straight into the starting line-up with Danny Senda currently out with a hamstring injury.
The Cobblers’ long term injuries see Nana out for the season and Byron Webster still a long way off from recovering from his broken metatarsal. Bas Savage should be back in training by next week but the Barnet trip comes just too soon for him. Meanwhile, Nick McKoy misses out again due to suspension. Chris Arthur, a left sided player, and midfielder George Baldock signed on Friday and are available for the game.
Cobblers keeper Sam Walker made seven appearances on loan at Barnet last season before joining the Cobblers on a season long deal from Chelsea this summer.
Previous Six Meetings…
05/02/11: Cobblers 0-0 Barnet
Disappointing stalemate at Sixfields just days after the Cobblers had hammered Crewe Alexandra 6-2 at home.
20/11/10: Barnet 4-1 Cobblers
In one of the lowest points of last season, the Cobblers are overpowered at Underhill. Leon McKenzie had given us the lead but Steve Kabba’s penalty levelled the game minutes later. Kabba added a second before the break and Grant Basey made it 3-1 just two minutes after half-time. Ricky Holmes put a seal on the hammering with a late fourth to sink Sammo’s men.
28/12/09 Barnet 0-0 Cobblers
In a disappointing encounter just after Christmas in 2009, the sending off of Barnet’s Dean Sinclair is still not enough for Town to nick all three points.
04/09/09: Cobblers 1-3 Barnet
Barnet continued their fine start to the 09/10 season by winning at Sixfields. Loan midfielder Ben Marshall gave Town the lead but second half goals from Ahmed Dean, Paul Furlong and John O’Flynn gives the Bees victory.
02/12/06: Barnet 4-1 Cobblers (FA Cup Second Round)
The Cobblers, in League One at the time, were on the wrong end of a cup upset in 2006 as Barnet, then struggling in League Two, fell to a poor defeat. Scott McGleish headed in the opener against his old club to hand us the lead but a blitz in the second half saw Adam Birchall, Dean Sinclair, Ian Hendon from the spot and Magno Viera earn progression for the Bees.
10/12/05: Barnet 0-1 Cobblers
In the promotion season of 2005/06, Scott McGleish nets the only goal of the game from the penalty spot for Town, then led by Colin Calderwood.
The Man In The Middle…
In only his second League Two fixture of the season, the ever popular Andy D’Urso takes charge on Saturday. The last time he oversaw a Cobblers game was during the 1-0 win at Stevenage last season in a game that saw him show red to Darius Charles as we earned a slender 1-0 win at Broadhall Way.
We have to avoid another Underhill nightmare and it can’t get much worse than last season’s drubbing. The hosts’ attacking prowess could cause us problems though and I’ll go for a draw this time around…1-1.