Npower League Two Preview: Plymouth Argyle v Barnet

Following Plymouth Argyle’s 1-1 draw at AFC Wimbledon on Tuesday, a night where results again went against the Pilgrims, the Greens

find themselves cut adrift at the foot of League Two, three points behind the teams above them. Barnet are the visitors to Home Park on Saturday for a relegation showdown that will probably have a massive say in whether Argyle are a Football League club next season.

Barnet’s Recent Results

Southend (H) W 2-0

Rochdale (H) D 0-0

York (A) W 1-2

Port Vale (H)

Bristol Rovers (A) L 2-1

Ones To Watch

Jake Hyde

The number one source of goals in Edgar Davids’ Barnet side is 22-year-old Jake Hyde, who has scored 10 goals for the Bees so far this campaign. The striker, who came up through the youth ranks at Swindon Town, first signed for Barnet in 2009 upon his release from the Robins. Hyde was only with Barnet for one season after being released at the end of the campaign following only 6 goals in 34 appearances. Hyde dropped in to non-league football the next season as he turned out a few times for Hayes & Yeading before heading up to Scotland to play for Lochee United, Dunfermline and finally Dundee. Hyde was released by Dundee last summer and returned to Underhill after training with the club during pre-season. Hyde’s 10 goals this season represent the most fruitful season of his career so far.

Bondz N’Gala

Ex-Argyle defender Bondz N’Gala signed for Barnet on loan from Stevenage earlier this month. Although he has only appeared in 3 or 4

games since signing, Barnet are yet to concede a goal with the 23-year-old in their back four. Bondz was with Argyle for just the 2010/11 season following his release from West Ham. He made 28 appearances for us and scored one goal, in that amazing 4-2 win at Sheffield Wednesday. N’Gala left the club at the end of that season due to the financial circumstances surrounding the club. Since leaving Argyle he has played for Yeovil for one season before joing Stevenage, for whom he has only made around 15 appearances.

The Manager – Edgar Davids

In a move that shocked the nation, Edgar Davids, once of Juventus, Milan, Barcalona and Spurs, joined the management set-up at

Barnet as a player-manager alongside Mark Robson. His first game at his new club was a 4-1 home defeat to Argyle (Oh, how we laughed!) although the ex-Holland international did not feature on the pitch that day. He has since started turning-out on a regular basis for the Bees and is now in full control of the team following Robson’s departure in December. Since being the sole man in charge of Barnet, Davids has won four of his 10 games and only lost three times. Impressive considering it took Barnet two months until they won their first game of the season.

Past Five Meetings

13.10.2012 – Barnet 1 – 4 Plymouth Argyle

14.02.2012 – Plymouth Argyle 0 – 0 Barnet

13.09.2011 – Barnet 2 – 0 Plymouth Argyle

27.01.2007 – Barnet 0 – 2 Plymouth Argyle

20.09.2005 – Barnet 2 – 1 Plymouth Argyle

The View From Barnet

From Lucy Waldon

So much has changed since our previous encounter at Underhill in October. Managers in and managers out – typical of Barnet really who’ve made eight changes since 2010 – and players coming and going too. Collins John, who actually ‘played’ 15 minutes in the reverse fixture was one of the departures after proving to be a complete flop. Instead we now have a pretty impressive and well-built squad. The experience of Davids and John Oster in midfield is great for the younger lads, namely Elliot Johnson (our 18-year-old left back), who’s been outstanding since he was drafted in, in November!

All these changes are definitely positives and although we still find ourselves down at the bottom, it is so much closer. After the game at Underhill we found ourselves bottom of League Two on three points – seven points from safety and 11 behind Argyle. We may now only be a single point from relegation but there are five points between us and Dagenham in 15th.

That said, we seem to up our game against the top sides and really grinding out results against the teams around us would help our cause so much more. For every win against Gillingham, Southend and Rotherham, we lose against the likes of Aldershot and Bristol Rovers. But it certainly won’t be as easy for Argyle this time round!

The last time I wrote about striker Jake Hyde who was one to watch, having scored three goals in as many games. He has since reached double figures for the season with his 10th coming in our 2-0 win against Southend on Tuesday night. It’s the first time he’s managed to reach double figures in a campaign and while on a personal level, it’s great for him, it’s also great for the team that someone is contributing so freely! I would still say he’s one to watch, although we have recently acquired the services of Stevenage striker Dani Lopez on loan. The Spaniard is a real talent and in his couple of games so far, has really impressed. You can definitely tell he was previously on the books of Atlético Madrid.

Generally we look stronger and better equipped in every area of the field. When you look back to our earlier performances (in particular that 4-1 drubbing), we’ve come on leaps and bounds. That’s definitely been since Davids arrived on the scene – he still oozes class and is a real professional figure on and off the field. The way we play hasn’t really changed – we’re still trying to play it on the floor as much as possible – it’s just the class of players to have joined that has made the difference. Back in October we were yet to win a game and after our previous match against Argyle, our winless run sat at 14 games. Even now, reading that number back, it’s embarrassing. We’ve won half of our away games this year though and things are certainly better and more positive.

Looking forward to Saturday’s six-pointer (I seem to be saying that about every game!) and I can’t see there being any changes from the squad that played on Tuesday. If Oster recovers from his hamstring injury, I expect to see him with Byrne and Davids in midfield. If not, it’ll be Yiadom in for Vilhete (who he replaced on midweek).

I’m going to plump for a 2-0 to the Bees (Hyde and Lopez on the scoresheet).

Lucy Waldon

Twitter: @Luuuce_x

My Opinion

If we don’t win this game it’s near impossible to see us getting out of the mess we find ourselves in. I, like many others, have all but given up hope of Argyle remaining in this league. Our attack looks threadbare so even scoring one in a game is a surprise these days. It was so frustrating to take the lead at Wimbledon on Tuesday, in a game when we really needed to win, only to concede about 15 seconds after the restart. It’s such a cliché that is always used, but a team is always most vulnerable after scoring. We saw a stone cold demonstration of that on Tuesday.

As soon as Jason Banton hobbled off on Tuesday will looked like creating absolutely nothing in an attacking sense. If he doesn’t return for the game against Barnet our chances of scoring are even lower than they are already.

Hopefully a bigger crowd at Home Park can boost the team to three precious – and vital – points. Sadly all I can see is Argyle drawing another blank on our own turf and edging further towards the Blue Square Premier and Braintree away.

Score Prediction: Plymouth Argyle 0 – 0 Barnet


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