This review appeared in the Barnet Football Club Programme on 2nd January 2017 for the match versus Plymouth Argyle. Barnet won 1-0 with a goal from Mauro Vilhete.

9th in Sky Bet League 2 just after Christmas 2016 with a interim Management Team just taken over, would you have taken that back in January?

New Years Day and a defeat at Northampton Town 3-0.18th place in the table was “Disappointing” according to Martin Allen! Loanee Goalkeeper Ian Lawlor returned to Manchester City after a five game spell. Gavin Hoyte bought smiles to the Hive scoring in a 1-0 win over Bristol Rovers which preceded two 0-0 draws at home To Carlisle United and away to Stevenage. In other news Kevin Lisbie and Aaron McLean left the club by mutual consent and new faces were Alie Sesay, Chris Hackett and Mark Randall.
Gavin Hoyte
The four games this month were a mixed bag – a solid 2-0 win at Dagenham & Redbridge (Michael Nelson and Luke Gambin) was followed by a home defeat to AFC Wimbledon (Matt Stevens). High flying Portsmouth came to town and were dispatched 1-0 courtesy of a John Akinde penalty, his 11th League goal thus far, before a 2-2 draw Accington Stanley (Gambin and Akinde) after trailing 0-2. Another new face arrived in the shape of Full Back James Pearson from Leicester City. At the end of the month we had moved up to 15th.
James Pearson
Andy Yiadom scored in a dogged 1-0 win at home to Plymouth before a frankly poor 1-3 defeat performance four days later, also at home, to Hartlepool United. Fumnaya Shomoton scored his first goal for the club. 
Goals from Randall, Yiadom and Akinde featured in a 3-0 win at Newport County while from another long trip, this time to York, we returned with a 1-1 draw (Akinde). A week later the big attendance at home to Oxford United witnessed a clinical 3-0 win for the O's. A Friday night in Exeter gave us a Curtis Weston goal in a 1-1 draw but we saved the best for last as a last gasp John Akinde penalty in front of another big attendance at the Hive (over 4,000) won it against Luton Town 2-1. Luke Gambin scored the opener.
Goalkeeper Jamie Stephens signed a new deal while striker James Roberts arrived from Oxford United for a month.
Tragedy struck the club too with the passing of 19 year old supporter Chris East which had a profound effect on supporters – touching tributes poured in and he will be much missed.
Chris East 
Michael Gash's brace was not enough in the 4-2 defeat at Morecambe but the following week John Akinde's two goals and an effort from Sam Togwell put paid to Leyton Orient at the Hive 3-0. A 1-1 draw at Wycombe Wanderers (Yiadom) followed before another fine win by 3-1 at home to Notts County (Akinde, Randall and Yiadom). The 1-1 draw at Mansfield Town (Akinde) was a point for some pride in reality as Barnet had confirmed their mid lower table finish by this point. However a super game was next up as Yeovil Town pipped us 4-3 (Akinde 2 and Gash) at the Hive.
In other news brothers Harry (left) and Jack Taylor (right) signed new deals while First Team Coach Gary Waddock accepted a managerial post at Aldershot Town.

The final game at Crawley Town featured two more goals from John Akinde and another from Elliott Johnson in a very comfortable 3-0 victory.
15th place in the table was, in my opinion, a little disappointing after the euphoria of the previous seasons' Conference win but a satisfied sense of “consolidation” seemed to surround the club!
Jamie Stephens was deservedly awarded the Player of the Year while John Akinde, arguably was now placed amongst the Barnet FC “Greats”, scored 23 league goals (24 in all) to go with his 30 (33 in all) the previous season.
The closed season's first big news was the move to Barnsley of the much admired Andy Yiadom who had made 181 appearances since signing from Braintree in 2012 while Michael Nelson, Curtis Weston, Bondz N'Gala and Sam Togwell signed new deals while the new £3 Million North Stand started to take shape.
Jamie Stephens
New arrivals in time for pre-season included striker Alex Nicholls from Exeter City, a season long loan Goalkeeper Josh Vickers from Swansea City and Ryan Watson, a midfielder previously with Leicester City plus James Russell joining as new Assistant Manager. John Akinde's reward for two outstanding seasons was a new three deal. Departures included long serving goalkeeper Graham Stack, Mark Randall and Matthew Stevens.
Alex Nicholls
10 victories from 14 pre season games set up an opening Sky Bet League 2 fixture at Cambridge United. Substitute Alex Nicholls, with screamer won a point for the Bees in a 1-1 draw. The squad had two more new faces in striker Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro from Shrewsbury Town and winger Jamal Campbell-Ryce from Sheffield United. The first home fixture was a 2-0 victory over Accrington Stanley (Akinde and Akpa-Akpro) while two more 1-1 draws followed - at the Hive to Blackpool and away at Crawley – Akinde scoring in both games. The visit of Carlisle United was less successful, the Bees going down 1-0 in a frankly poor encounter. A defeat at Millwall 0-4 ended Barnet's League Cup dreams while a 2-2 draw in the much discussed EFL Trophy at MK Dons finished the month, seeing the team 13th in the table.
A bid of allegedly £100,000 was received from Leyton Orient for Maltese International Luke Gambin. He is still at the Hive at the time of writing! On a sadder note it was reported that the popular striker Michael Gash would miss the remainder of the season suffering crucial ligament damage in the game at home to Accrington.
Michael Gash
A waterlogged pitch and a half time abandonment greeted the boys in Newport South Wales with the game poised at 0-1 to Barnet, another goal from Akinde too! However a week later yet another Akinde goal secured an excellent 3 points at Mansfield Town. Two more home draws, 1-1 against Colchester United (Weston) and 2-2 Morecambe (Akinde 2) were split by a very frustrating 1-5 reverse at Portsmouth. An Akinde penalty opened the scoring but the game ended ten men versus eleven as Bira Dembele was sent off.
The Bees now occupied 17th position in the table.
Rodney Poolrade
Norwich City visited the Hive in the EFL Trophy and plundered 5 goals without return three days after the new North Stand was opened to accommodate the visiting fans of Leyton Orient. We all witnessed a 0-0 draw. Nearly 5,000 watched the 2-3 defeat at Doncaster Rovers (Dembele and Gambin) and then we dropped to 23rd in the table loosing at home to Exeter City 1-4 (Akinde). Yet the boys rallied to record a fine 2-0 (Mauro Vilhete and Akinde) win at Wycombe Rovers, a 2-2 (Akinde 2) draw at Newport in the rearranged game plus an entertaining 3-2 win over Hartlepool at the Hive. Shaun Batt scored his first goal in a Bees shirt accompanied by Gambin and or course Akinde.
Barnet had partially recovered to a much more respectable 14th.
In other news Sam Togwell was to undergo surgery, which would keep him out of action for two months while amazingly third choice Goalkeeper Kai McKenzie-Lye was called up for his county Guyana and scored on his debut!
Kai McKenzie-Lye
With two wins and two draws in November the unbeaten run in the League was extended to eight games and a rise in the table from 23rd to 8th. Away at Grimsby John Akinde was on target twice again, both were penalties, this proceeded a 0-0 draw at home to Crewe Alexandra. Two victories followed. Away at Plymouth 2-0 (Dembele and Akinde) and then a 3-2 home win over Notts County (Gambin 2 and Dembele). In the FA Cup a 0-3 defeat at Shrewsbury Town was disappointing, however there was a feeling of “Glad that is over” after the defeat at home to Peterborough United in the EFL Trophy, only 393 watched the game. A message from fans to the organisers to go with many others from around the country? History was made in that game however as Pascal Dwight became the youngest ever player to represent Barnet FC – 15 years and 250 days.
Young forward Ephron Mason-Clarke signed professional forms with the club while the popular Centre Back Bondz N'Gala completed a £60,000 move to Vanarama National Eastleigh. Bonzo had made 114 appearance for the Bees scoring 2 goals.
And.............there was more drama just around the corner!
Bondz N'Gala

Martin Allen had been manager at Barnet four times now, each term he cooked up something to get excited about. His departure to Eastleigh on the 1st December ( his 8th club as Manager in 13 years) took a lot of people by surprise if only for the fact that Barnet were now just one place below the Pay offs, a tremendous turn around in just six weeks. Martin engineered our return to the Football League so that's probably a good enough return for our investments over the years! Both Sam Togwell, for a £20,000 fee and Gavin Hoyte on a free transfer soon followed Allen to the South Coast. Togwell made 99 appearances for the club and was also part of that promotion winning side under Allen.
Development Team coach Rossi Eames and Academy manager Henry Newman stepped up to be the Interim Management partnership and their first game away to Yeovil Town resulted in a 1-0 smash and grab win for the Bees – Alex Nicholls with the strike. The following week the “local Derby” against neighbours Stevenage didn't go as planned as “Borough” came away 2-1 winners in front of 3,228. We geared up for the New Years Eve clash with Luton Town with a thoroughly professional performance at Cheltenham on Boxing Day. Weston and Akinde scoring in a 2-1 win. We approached the New Year 9th in the table.
In other news 17 year old Joe Payne signed professional forms but it was reported that Ben Tomlinson out for the remainder of the season.

Happy New Year everybody – my wish for 2017? To see Barnet at Wembley in the Play Offs. Not been there since 1972, a lifetime ago, so watch this space.
The 1972 Squad - 8p to anybody who can name them all?

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