Football – England – League Two
Friday 21st December 2012 – Kickoff: 2000hrs
Bottom of League Two Barnet continue in their fight to stave off relegation when they entertain play-off aspirants Burton Albion at Underhill in the late kick-off on Friday night.
The London club are now just three points adrift from AFC Wimbledon and the safety of 22nd place and should they win tonight they would leapfrog both Bristol Rovers and The Wombles with a better goal difference. When you first glance at Barnet’s overall recent results you would again be wondering why I’m backing them in this one; six matches without a win and propping up the rest of the division.
However, look at Barnet’s recent results at home ground Underhill and it throws a different complexion upon the matter; unbeaten in their last five with wins over mid-table clubs Northampton Town 4-0 and Torquay United 1-0 respectively, along with draws against Accrington Stanley, Oxford United and AFC Wimbledon.
The Bees’ home record then stands at an improved 2-5-4 14/17 which is heading in the right direction. Forward Jake Hyde (6 goals), Ricky Holmes (2 goals, 5 assists) and Mark Byrne (2 goals, 4 assists) are the main dangers up front along with experienced striker Jon Nurse coming off the bench.
Burton Albion, despite being on the fringes of the play-offs, have been a bit up-and-down lately with wins over Dagenham & Redbridge and Accrington Stanley, but lost to lowly Aldershot Town and then another defeat to Wycombe Wanderers along with a point at Chesterfield.
However, it’s their recent away form that gives Barnet more than a glimmer of hope for Friday night as The Brewers have won just once in their last six matches on the road which was a 2-1 win at 20th placed Plymouth Argyle, but this has been tainted by defeats at Gillingham 1-4, Cheltenham Town 0-1 and Wycombe Wanderers 0-3.
Burton have failed to score on their travels on five occasions but have kept three clean sheets which lends itself to the prospect of a low-scoring match here tonight. Congonese forwards Calvin Zola and Jacques Maghoma are a threat in attack and are Burton’s leading goalscorers and they have striker Billy Kee likely to come off the bench.
Burton are narrow favourites with the bookmakers, but I’ll back a Barnet side with the round ball as they’ve picked their game up particularly at home and they should be hard to break down again tonight. Could be a 1-0 Barnet win or a 0-0 draw.
Pick: Barnet AH0 (Draw No Bet) @ 1.99 Pinnacle