A preview of what's in store this FridayEXETER CITY welcome Barnet to St James Park this weekend for this season’s Good Friday fixture.
Only one league place separates the sides going into Friday’s clash, with Martin Allen’s Barnet in 15th in Sky Bet League 2, five points behind the Grecians.
The Grecians will be looking to continue an impressive run of six games unbeaten in the league, and are going in search of their fifteenth success of the season, which may take them as high as tenth in the table.
Unchanged in the last three games, Paul Tisdale now looks to have a settled first eleven, something the Grecians have been seeking for the majority of the campaign.
The last time the two sides met, City suffered a 2-0 defeat, but City have a marginally better historical record than the Bees in this fixture, with nine wins to the Hive Stadium side’s seven. City have in fact won four of the last six clashes between the sides, with Barnet only taking one success in the last fifteen.
Jayden Stockley has seven goals in thirteen games since joining City on loan in January, making him the club’s third-highest goalscorer this season already. He also has two in his last two, and got his first St James Park goal against Carlisle United last time out.
Academy product Ollie Watkins is not far behind Stockley in the goalscoring form stakes – he has three goals in his last four, including the fourth goal in the Grecians’ thumping win at Notts County last weekend.
Barnet have only won three out of eighteen away from home this season, and the Grecians are unbeaten in four of the last five home matches.
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Form this Season
After getting promoted from the Vanarama Conference in the 2014/15 season, the Bees still harbour hopes for a late run to the play-offs this season, and have a slim shot at promotion for a second year running.
Barnet have looked a strong side, with a number of players standing out this season. John Akinde is Barnet’s leading goalscorer on fifteen, and he also holds the lead in the club’s assists chart this season with nine. Luke Gambin is close behind on seven.
Barnet are currently fifteenth in the league with nine games left to play of the 2015/16 season. They are five points behind the Grecians who sit in fourteenth place with the same amount of games remaining.
Martin Allen’s side hope to narrow the gap with City with a win at St James Park this Easter weekend. A City win would see the Grecians go eight points clear of the Bees, but the visitors have a five-point gap between themselves and Newport County AFC in seventeenth.
The Bees currently play their home fixtures at the Hive Stadium located in Edgware in the London Borough of Harrow. The club relocated there in February 2013, and boast a state-of-the-art training and stadium complex which is up there with the most impressive in Sky Bet League 2.
Its maximum capacity is currently 5,176, though fifty-seven more were in attendance when Barnet hosted Gateshead and took a 2-0 win to seal promotion back to League Two in April 2015.
Who’s in charge
Martin Allen played over a hundred games for both Queens Park Rangers and West Ham United. He then moved to Portsmouth in the latter stages of his football career before finishing his career at Southend United.
Five years later, non-league Barnet handed Allen his first managerial role, and has since returned for three further spells at the helm. He won the League 2 title as manager of Gillingham in 2015.
The man the Grecians have to look out for is striker John Akinde who has made a total of thirty-nine appearances in all competitions. This is his second season at the club; last year saw him win the Conference’s golden boot, and also take home Barnet’s player of the year award. He is Barnet’s leading goalscorer this season with fourteen, and he has also set up the most chances for the Bees with eight assists to his name in the current campaign.
He is currently the sixth-highest goal-scorer in Sky Bet League 2. Of the players in the top twenty League 2 goalscorers so far this season, Akinde has the second-highest number of assists, with his figure of eight behind only Accrington Stanley’s Billy Kee on twelve.
The two sides match fairly evenly when it comes to results in previous meetings. City have just pipped the Bees in the head-to-head record, winning nine to Barnet’s seven. The Grecians have won four of the last six meetings between the two sides, compared to Barnet’s one in the last fifteen fixtures, so the Grecians certainly have the better of the recent clashes despite a defeat at the Hive in October.
Barnet 1-0 Plymouth Argyle
Barnet 1-3 Hartlepool United
Newport County AFC 0-3 Barnet
York City 1-1 Barnet
Barnet 0-3 Oxford United