In the spotlight: Barnet

Fact File

Full Name: Barnet Football Club

Year Formed: 1888

Nickname: The Bees

Stadium: The Hive Stadium

Capacity: 6,500

2021/22 Finish: 18th in the National League

Review of the 2021/22 season

Barnet looked to improve on a hugely disappointing 2020/21 season with new manager Harry Kewell in charge. However, the Bees continued their form from the previous season with a 5-0 home drubbing from Notts County on the opening day. A 4-2 defeat away at Chesterfield marked a sixth straight game without a win at the beginning of the campaign. A disappointing result against Bromley resulted in Kewell’s departure. Dean Brennan was brought in to replace the Australian and helped the club to their first win of the season soon after with a 3-1 victory over Weymouth. Brennan overturned fortunes at The Hive as Barnet rose to 13th place by the beginning of December. They were dumped out of both the FA Cup and FA Trophy after defeats to Boreham Wood. Following a 3-0 victory against Maidenhead United, Brennan’s side failed to taste victory again until early March – with 4-1, 5-0 and 6-0 losses to Chesterfield, Stockport County and Notts County featuring in this run. A 6-0 win over Dover Athletic ended the winless streak and results saw a slight improvement as Barnet limped home in 18th place.

Manager – Dean Brennan

Dean Brennan had a 13-year playing career which included spells at teams such as Sheffield Wednesday, Bohemians and AFC Wimbledon. In 2010, whilst still playing at Hemel Hempstead Town, the winger became caretaker manager before eventually re-joining as permanent manager two years later. He spent six years with the club and won the Southern Premier League as well as establishing them as a National League South side. He left in 2018 to join Billericay Town but left after four months before having a spell at Kingstonian. Brennan was named as Wealdstone manager in May 2019 and enjoyed two years with the Stones which included a promotion to the National League. The 42-year-old was appointed as caretaker head coach of Barnet in September 2021 before taking the role on a full-time basis in February of this year.

Dean Brennan

Star Player – Ephron Mason-Clark

Ephron Mason-Clark has spent his entire career with Barnet, making his debut in October 2016 against Norwich City under-23s in the EFL Trophy. He joined Metropolitan Police that same month in order to gain some first-team experience – he played four times in the month-long loan spell. The winger spent most of the 2016/17 and the 2017/18 season looking to break through into the starting XI. Upon Barnet’s relegation to the National League, Mason-Clark found more playing time as he became one of the Bees’ most important players. An England C call-up followed in 2019, with his debut coming against Estonia. The 22-year-old continued his fine form in the 2021/22 season as he started to attract interest from Football League sides – he ended the campaign with six goals in 40 games.

Ephron Mason-Clark

Overall Head-to-head Record

P27   W14   D4   L9

In the last couple of years, Chesterfield have got the better of Barnet when the two teams have met. A Kabongo Tshimanga hat-trick and a Gavin Gunning free-kick secured a fantastic 4-2 win in the first meeting of last season. The second game of the campaign was the first time that the Spireites took to the field after the Chelsea FA Cup tie at Stamford Bridge. Akwasi Asante and Jeff King scored with Tshimanga also adding a brace as Chesterfield ran out 4-1 winners at The Hive. 

Played for both – Scott Loach

Scott Loach joined Barnet in June 2019, following the expiry of his contract at Hartlepool United. The veteran goalkeeper had a wealth of Football League experience before moving to The Hive. Loach’s first season with the club was curtailed by COVID-19, but Barnet were awarded a play-off place upon the league’s return. The Bees beat Yeovil Town in the play-off eliminators before falling to Notts County in the semi-finals. After spending another season in London, the goalkeeper decided to make the move to the Technique Stadium. Loach kept 17 clean sheets in 48 games as Chesterfield got to the National League play-off semi-finals.The 35-year-old recently made the move to south Derbyshire to join League One Derby County.

*Photos courtesy of Howard Bloom & Ben Fullylove