Saturday, March 27th 2013
And so it comes down to one final league game for the Cobblers. Since the start of the season it always felt like this match would have major implications for the standings for at least one end of the League Two table with the Cobblers and Barnet scheduled to face off in the final game. The Cobblers have secured a playoff place but are still in with a shout of toppling potential semi-final opponents Burton Albion with a victory combined with a Brewers defeat at home to Gillingham.
For Barnet, though, consequences are that bit higher. A dramatic late winner against Wycombe in the final ever game at Underhill last weekend lifted them back out of the bottom two ahead of AFC Wimbledon. Any sort of win from Wimbledon, though, puts the Bees right back in trouble and the fans packing out the South Stand are likely to be on the edge of their seats for most of the afternoon.
With a victory guaranteeing safety for Edgar David’s troops and the carrot of a home second leg in the playoffs there to be shot at for the Cobblers this should be a tension filled afternoon at Sixfields as we prepare for the end of season lottery…
Explosive end to Underhill tenure…
After much talk and speculation, Barnet confirmed their move to The Hive Stadium in February of this year, meaning that last weekend’s game against Wycombe Wanderers would be the last to be played at the old Underhill ground. Jake Hyde scored a late goal to give the Bees the lead before, incredibly, Graham Stack saved a last minute penalty from Wycombe’s Joel Grant to preserve a precious victory that lifted his side out of the drop zone following back to back defeats.
Four in a row?…
Barnet have survived the dreaded drop to the Conference on each of the last THREE final days of the season, beating Rochdale 1-0 at Underhill in 2010 to stay up, similarly seeing off Port Vale 1-0 in 2011 and then, a year ago, beating Burton Albion 2-1 to hold off Hereford United. Will it be four in a row come Saturday at 5pm?
Tickets selling fast for big final day…
All of Barnet’s 1,300 tickets have sold out for their trip to Sixfields and with only around 400 home tickets left going into Friday morning there should be a cracking atmosphere at Sixfields from both sides.
The Cobblers could rest key players such as Clive Platt, Chris Hackett and Bayo Akinfenwa ahead of the playoffs whilst Kelvin Langmead may not be risked after his recent injury that’s kept him out of the last few matches.
Barnet welcome back Barry Fuller from suspension while Luke Gambin is pushing for a start on the wing after coming off the bench in the 1-0 win over Wycombe last weekend.
Previous Six Meetings…
19/10/12: Barnet 4-0 Cobblers (League Two)
Edgar Davids played his first game in two years to help his new club to a first win of the season against the Cobblers thanks to four second half goals. Krystian Pearce put the Bees in front before further goals from Andrew Yiadom, John Oster and Anthony Edgar wrapped it up.
21/01/12: Cobblers 1-2 Barnet (League Two)
Bayo Akinfenwa put the Cobblers into the lead in the clubs’ last meeting but Barnet recovered and turned the game around in the second half with Mark Byrne and Ricky Holmes doing the damage.
01/10/11: Barnet 1-2 Cobblers (League Two)
An important win at Underhill for the Cobblers just over a year ago. Ricky Holmes put the home side in front after fifteen minutes but Aaron Davies equalised before Ben Tozer scored a dramatic winner in the last minute for Town.
05/02/11: Cobblers 0-0 Barnet (League Two)
Tame stalemate at Sixfields in the 2010/11 season as both sides have to settle for a point.
20/11/10: Barnet 4-1 Cobblers (League Two)
One of the most disappointing afternoons of that season came at Underhill despite Leon McKenzie putting Town in front early on. Liam Davis was then sent off, though, and Steve Kabba levelled from the spot a few minutes later before edging his side into the lead just before the break. Grant Basey made it 3-1 just after half time and then Ricky Holmes put the icing on the cake in stoppage time.
28/12/09: Barnet 0-0 Cobblers (League Two)
Another goalless game between the sides despite Barnet being reduced to ten men on the hour mark as Dean Sinclair was given his marching orders.
The Man in the middle…
The man in charge for the final league game of the season is Andy Haines. Haines was last the official for a Cobblers game back in March of last year for the 3-1 home win over Aldershot Town.
Anything can happen on the last day of the season and Barnet have been the proof of that over the last few seasons, escaping at the last on numerous occasions. The difference this time is that they don’t have to win to survive but they’ll still be desperate to ensure that they don’t have to check on Wimbledon’s progress. Rumours of a weakened Cobblers team are hopefully only partly true so I’ll go for a big finish and some nervy Bees fans! 2-1.