PREVIEW | BARNET V WREXHAM

Macclesfield Town
Posted:Mon 08 Mar 2021

After earning an excellent point at the home of high-flying Sutton, Wrexham will now be looking to build on that with a visit to struggling Barnet.

Barnet have suffered horribly during this campaign, affected by COVID both on and off the pitch. The club acknowledged in a statement in August that it had looked to build a strong squad to bounce back into the Football League, using parachute payments to fund a strong team, but when last season's attempt ended in the play-off semi-final, they had to make cutbacks:


"In the last two seasons, we funded a talented and ambitious squad to push for a return to the League before the cessation of parachute payments. However, in pulling together this team, we were always conscious of the unpredictability of football and avoided tying ourselves to continued contractual commitments if we had not achieved promotion; as it happens, we came close but not close enough. Our future appointments will mirror the same ambitions but ensure sustainability in light of our continued National League status."

 

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The Summer saw players leave, along with manager Darren Currie, but his replacement, Peter Beadle, only lasted until December, complaining that the club's problems were "down to players’ commitment".

POSSIBLE LINE-UP

On paper, the playing squad looks good, but confidence has suffered, leading to a horrible run of results. The Bees have lost 12 of their last 13 games, the exception being an impressive win against Halifax 5 games ago. Their last league win before that was a 1-0 win over Weymouth in mid-October, three days before they emerged with a battling 0-0 draw from The Racecourse. 

Remarkably they followed up that result by knocking League One Burton ALbion out of the FA Cup, but since then their rrsults make stark reading: they've won 1, drawn 2 and lost 17, with no clean sheet in 13 games.

HEAD TO HEAD

After a poor start, our record at Barnet has actually become rather impressive.

Our last match there, in April 2019, saw us register a remarkable 2-1 win. Trailing at the break, Akil Wright immediately pulled a goal back with a header, but despite putting the home defence under intense pressure we couldn't break through until the 85th minute, when substitute Jermain McGlashan scored a bizarre winner, his shot missing the target until backspin made the ball rear lile a leg break and find its way into the net!

We lost our first two matches at their old ground, Underhill, the most notorious defeat coming in January 1993. We were pushing for promotion, and The Bees were one of our rivals in what had become a four-horse race. However, we travelled south troubled by an injury to star striker Gary Bennett which threatened to rule him out for a good portion of the run-in.

John Paskin took his place and found the net, but without their talisman the side didn’t look comfortable, and fell to a comprehensive 3-1 defeat. Thankfully, Bennett’s injury was not as serious as first feared, and he was soon back in the side as we successfully clinched a place in the Third Division.

Since those early disappointments we’ve done well at Barnet, winning four and drawing two. Bennett clinched our first win there in March 1994, striking an injury time winner to claim a 2-1 win after Gareth Owen had scored a second half equaliser.

In March 2007 we enjoyed another come-from-behind 2-1 win, in a game famous for its goal celebration. Lee McEvilly struck twice in the space of three minutes and celebrated by rubbing his stomach in a pointed retort to the cries of “Who ate all the pies?” from the home fans which had dogged him until he made his point.

An infamous clash between the two sides came in October 2013. The Bees took an early lead before their player-manager, Edgar Davids, and Stephen Wright were both dismissed -  Wright, it seemed, for allowing Davids to elbow him in the mouth! Dean Keates then earned a draw with a magnificent 90th minute free kick, although the drama was far from over as Johnny Hunt's deserved dismissal reduced us to 9 men.

In February 2015, Robbie Evans scored a long range goal to clinch victory. Evans repeated the trick in the return fixture, scoring the only goal as Wrexham pulled off an impressive double over the side which won the league that season.


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