With quarter of the League Two season gone D3D4 takes a look at how The Bees have started under Rossi Eames…
Barnet started the season with high expectations and why not, they had comfortably stayed up last season and had a new young and hungry manager in Rossi Eames. Rossi knows the club inside out and gives the impression that he has a vision that can lead the Bees to the next level. That, right there, is the challenge that all fans of the Harrow based club would love to see. With things off the field never looking better, with new facilities for training and The Hive looking like an excellent little stadium, the mission now is to drive the team up the division and get Barnet into a play-off spot or at least be in the race come May.
A decent start at newly promoted Forest Green saw the Bees stage an excellent second half fight back and then an impressive win at home against a Luton side that had just come off an 8-2 opening day victory over Yeovil. Losing at Crewe was almost inevitable given Barnet’s record at Gresty Road but another fine display saw them somehow lose 1-0 against rivals Stevenage before arguably their best performance of the season saw them thrash Swindon 4-1 at The County Ground. Shaquile Coulthirst, a signing from Peterborough, grabbed a hat-trick and was looking like the signing of the season already and was more than making up for the lack of John Akinde.
A 3-1 demolition of Cambridge followed and things were looking really good for Eames and his side but then the slump began as Exeter grabbed a late winner to steal all 3 points from their match at The Hive. The Bees travelled to Cumbria and almost grabbed a win but for a Shaun Miller wonder goal and then defeat at home to Crawley, away to Lincoln and away to Wycombe ended a disappointing September.
With October announcing the arrival of Autumn The Bees stopped the rot with a battling draw in front of the TV cameras at The Hive but looked toothless up top with out both Coulthirst and Akinde. With Notts County, Mansfield, Yeovl and Accrington still to come this month it could be a tough few games for the Bees and a lot will rely on them getting some of their key players back to fitness. No one will be panicking but you feel that this Bees side, when fit, could really be a challenger in League Two.
Shaquile Coulthirst has been class so far and is also the top scorer with 7 goals. He is a constant threat and has had more shots than an other Barnet player so far this season, thoroughly deserving his hat-trick at Swindon. If he can strike up a partnership with John Akinde you have to feel that The Bees will have one of the deadliest front pairing in League Two!
Most surprising player?
For me Jamal Campbell-Ryce has belied his years and adapted his game to be a key player so far this season. It was his determination and leadership qualities that sparked the fight back at Forest Green on the opening day and he has been fulcrum in the midfield ever since. Mauro Vilhete has also impressed contributing 4 goals from midfield.
Performance against expectation?
Injuries aside, not very well. Barnet fans were hoping to be a top half team yet they have slumped to 19th and have some difficult games ahead of them. You can’t really get a full picture because of the injuries and there is a sense that, when all players a back to full fitness, Barnet will kick on again but for now they need to ride out this sticky patch and, like against Coventry, be more difficult to beat.
words James Richards