After 131 days of waiting, Yeovil Town are finally back in action, and the stakes couldn’t be any higher as the battle for play-off glory begins.
This afternoon, Barnet visit Huish Park, as they were meant to on the 14th March before the COVID-19 outbreak brought the world to a halt. To every Glovers fan, who felt the full effects of this horrible virus, we do this for you! Alongside this, we do this for every other supporter who helped the club in anyway during this time, from donating to our Crowdfunder campaign, purchasing a virtual Thatchers pint or by getting involved in our 'Face in the Crowd' campaign, whatever you did to help thank you!
In these unique circumstances, the programme has taken a new form so it can be as accessible as possible to all the Glovers fans in Somerset and beyond... introducing the Yeovil Town's first ever virtual match-day programme!
Thank you, to every single one of our amazing supporters! Image: PPA
A message from scott preistnall 📝
Welcome to everyone either at Huish Park or watching from afar.
It seems apt that we welcome Barnet today, as not only were they scheduled to be our last visitors in March, but also, we started this season’s league campaign at the Hive.
At that first game in the August heat, most people thought we would be a mid-table team – some even predicting another season fighting relegation. Eleven months on we have defied those predictions and still have a shot at achieving the difficult task of returning to the EFL at the first attempt. This is a very competitive league however and talented teams like Barnet will – as they did in August – turn the tables on us if they can, so nothing short of another top team performance in front of the BT Sport cameras is needed today.
Scott Priestnall's first year of ownership has seen success on the pitch return! Image: PPA
Off the pitch I do however want to pay tribute to our fans, players, and staff. At that first game of the season I was stunned to see the strength and size of our travelling support. Since then, especially after our we acquired the club, our fan support home and away has been consistently outstanding and although the last few months have been challenging for us all, the support the club has had from fans, players and staff has been amazing. In the fans case, nothing underlines this better than our Crowdfunder exercise where our initial target of £25k was smashed and the final total was £52,616 with 10% going to the Yeovil Hospital Charity.
It is a necessary but sad situation that fans are not present at the game today however even without your usual superb support Darren and the team are determined to give a performance that is worthy of the support you give Yeovil Town FC week in and week out.
Thank you for your support and hope you and your family stay safe and well until we can welcome you back to Huish Park.
Darren Sarll's Pre-match thoughts 🗣️
Watch Darren Sarll's full extended pre-match press conference including unseen answers from the Boss!
Head to head ⚔️
A trip to the Hive that will live long in the memory of Glovers fans came in 2016 when Town came from 3-1 down to mount a dramatic comeback claiming all three points thanks to Harry Cornick's late winner!
The wild celebrations after Cornick snatched a late winner for the Glovers
The most recent fixture between the two sides came on the opening game of the season almost a whole year ago. The hosts Barnet came out the 1-0 winners in a tight game, separated by Simeon Akinola's penalty.
Since 2003, the Glovers have only lost twice to the Bees across nine fixtures. The strong record boasts four wins and three draws, with our most recent win coming at Huish Park in February 2018.
The Glovers celebrate Zoko's goal which sealed victory in 2018. Image: PPA
In the opposition camp! 👀
A member of the EFL for 11 seasons since 2004, Barnet like us will feel they deserve to be Football League club. After a number of postponed fixtures, Barnet have found themselves climbing the table from 11th to pipping Stockport County on PPG.
The Bees celebrate scoring against Aldershot
Star Man - Paul McCallum
A name well known to National League supporters for his stellar goal record, the signing of McCallum on loan from Solihull turned the Bees fortunes for the better since the turn of the year. However, with such a break, will form go out the window? Only time will tell.
The prolific Paul McCallum nets for Barnet
A brief history of Barnet F.C.
Football in Barnet can be traced back to the formation of the original Barnet FC in 1888, with the club plying their trade in the London League until folding in 1902. Local rivals Avenue FC subsequently took over their name and their Queens Road ground before merging in 1912 with near-neighbours Barnet Alston, a works team playing in a distinctive black and amber kit. In September 1907, they established a ground at Underhill where the current club continued to play for more than a century.
Barnet became founder members of the Alliance Premier League (later re-named the Conference) in 1979-80 but, despite new manager Barry Fry’s attempts to rebuild the team, the Bees flirted with relegation almost constantly during the early part of the 1980s.
Saved from receivership, the club persuaded Fry to return to the Bees from rivals Maidstone for what proved to be a tumultuous 10 years at Underhill. After finishing runners-up three out of the previous four seasons, Fry finally led Barnet to the Football League after a dramatic 4-2 win at Fisher Athletic in their final game of the season.
The Bees’ maiden Football League season began with an extraordinary 7-4 home defeat to Crewe Alexandra and ended in play-off heartache, losing to Blackpool over two games that Barnet dominated. Promotion to the third tier was achieved the following season but, following off-field turmoil in which the club escaped expulsion and lost virtually the whole playing staff, new manager Gary Phillips was unable to prevent the inevitable relegation back to the lower level.
Barnet's new home, The Hive is based in Canons Park, North West London
In 2009-10 Barnet at one stage deservedly topped the League Two table but, after a series of poor results, League status was only guaranteed on the last day of the season under reinstalled caretaker boss Paul Fairclough. This season also saw the launch of The Hive, a state-of-the-art training facility, which was opened by England manager Fabio Capello.
The club also said farewell to Underhill in 2012/13, their home for over a 100 years. In an emotional match - the last but one of the season - the club managed to record a 1-0 victory over Wycombe Wanderers and hopes were high that relegation could again be avoided, yet it was not to be. Despite the obvious disappointment of relegation, with the club moving to a new ground and current home - The Hive.
The former Barnet player Darren Currie turned club manager in early 2019
Darren Currie took up the position as the Bees head coach in January 2019. Since then Currie has become a favourite with the Bee Army and will look to guide the club back to the EFL this season.
The officials ⏱️
Carl Brook taking charge of Dover vs. Torquay
Carl Brook will be the man in the middle on Saturday. He will be joined by Andy Bennett and Damith Bandara with Sam Allison taking up the role as fourth official.
Play-off FAQs ❓
Is the tie two legged? No, the tie will be played over 90 minutes.
Does the game go to extra time? No, if the scores are level at the end of 90 minutes plus stoppages a penalty shoot-out will be played.
Will there be water breaks? Yes, there will be water breaks at the half way point in each point?
How many subs are we allowed? Darren Sarll will be able to call upon five substitutes to be made over three separate occasions.
You won't miss any of the action with the game being televised on BT Sport
How can I watch the game live? The game will be available on BT Sport 1, with coverage starting at 14:30
Who do we play if we progress? Should we progress we will play Notts County away on the 25th July at 17:00.
When and where is the final? The final will take place on Sunday 2nd August at Wembley Stadium.
Could our first trip to Wembley since 2013 be on the cards? Image: PPA
THE BRAND NEW PLAY-OFF GARMS 👕
When the Glovers take the field against Barnet, Yeovil will be wearing a special kit to commemorate reaching the playoffs after an exciting season where the club reconnected with the fans and found winning ways on the pitch again.
Designed in partnership with Macron, the new shirt both picks up the desire of most fans to move away from hoops and also has echoes of the shirt the Glovers last wore in the National League (then the Conference) by being mostly green.
The Glovers will wear this special kit for the duration of their playoff campaign only and an entirely new kit will be announced in due course for the 2020/21 season.
Commenting club Chairman Scott Priestnall said, “We wanted to do something special for the playoffs and Macron were keen to help us come up with a kit that took into account the feedback we have had from fans. I hope our fans enjoy seeing the lads take the field tomorrow in a kit that echoes some of the great shirts of years gone by, but with a modern twist”
The club will be announcing details of how Glovers fans can acquire a limited-edition version of the playoff shirts early next week.
COLLO'S CORNER 🎙️
Club captain Lee Collins spoke to the local media ahead of the play-off clash!
scouting the play off opposition 🔍
Harrogate Town 🌼
The Yorkshire side have had a fantastic second season in the top tier of Non-League football, being the main challengers to Barrows eventual title success. Simon Weaver’s men come into the play offs unbeaten in their last seven games in all competitions which also saw them progress into the semi-finals of the F.A Trophy and will be looking to avenge last year’s play-off defeat to the now relegated AFC Fylde.
Harrogate celebrate a home goal against Torquay in late 2019. Image:PPA
Keeper James Belshaw has lead from the back this season and an influence between the sticks, conceding just 38 goals all season, the second best in the National League.
Manager Simon Weaver has taken his team on leaps and bounds since taking charge in 2009, leading them to back to back play-off finishes in the clubs first two years at this level.
Notts County 🐦
County’s first season in the Vanarama National League began slowly with only two wins in a busy August, which featured a defeat at Huish Park. Neal Ardley’s men put the difficult start to season behind them and started to climb the table and come into their play-off campaign unbeaten in nine competitive fixtures. This excellent form also saw The Magpies progress to the F.A Trophy semi-final.
Notts County score what turned out to be a consolation from the spot in August 2019. Image: PPA
Manager Neal Ardley comes into his second play-off campaign with a hundred percent success rate, winning promotion to League One in 2016 with former club AFC Wimbledon.
If Ardley has any chance of keeping that record he will need exciting winger Enzio Boldewijn to be performing at the levels he has throughout the course of this season.
Boreham Wood 🌳
Just as they did in the 2017/18 season, the Wood have exceeded expectations to qualify for another play-off campaign, they will be hoping to go one step further then their last post-season campaign where they were defeated by Tranmere Rovers at Wembley. Luke Garrard’s side come into the play-offs on the same points as the Glovers, after an impressive 2020 which has seen them lose just once.
It was a tight battle when the two sides met earlier in 2020. Image: PPA
Wood manager Luke Garrard is no stranger to the end of season play-offs this will be his third in charge of the Hertfordshire team winning the National South play-offs in 2015 as well as the previously mentioned 2018 campaign.
Garrard will be turning to his talisman striker Kabongo Tshimanga who has scored 18 league goals this season. Certainly one to look out for after a relatively quiet spell when he was on the books at Huish Park.
F.C Halifax Town 🔵
The Shaymen started the season in emphatic style losing just one of eight games in August propelling them to the top of the division at the draw of the opening month. Since then they’ve struggled to put together any real consistency to build on that opening month.
A Glovers side reduced to ten men beat Halifax 2-0 at Huish Park last December. Image: PPA
Halifax come into the play-offs winning just one of their last four, but Pete Wild’s side will be looking to gain some revenge on Boreham Wood who defeated them 2-0 back in October.
Since taking the reins at The Shay manage Wild has guided them to their highest finish since the 2013/14 where they fell short over two legs against Cambridge United.
Despite only finishing 11th Barnet qualified for the Play-offs on PPG, The Bees however, have only lost nine times all season and haven’t lost in the league since a 2-1 defeat by champions Barrow in November.
Barnet have impressed in 2020.
Darren Currie will be looking at his impressive attackers to make in impact none more influential then Simeon Akinola who has scored 15 goals in the National League this season.
Currie has guided his Bees to their highest finish in Non-League since they won the division in 2015. Building on last year’s impressive F.A Cup run which ended at the hands of now Premier League Sheffield United.
Sponsor thanks 🤝
Many thanks to our main sponsor Jones Building Group, alongside Thatchers, Screwfix, GNC Associates, Davey Roofing, JNC Chauffeurs, and our play-off kit supplier Macron.
The 19/20 squad with main sponsor, Jones Building Group. Image: PPA
By Sam Collard & Harry Doel ✍️
With thanks to Barnet F.C. for providing their club history and PPA for the imagery.
1. Stuart Nelson
2. Craig Alcock
3. Carl Dickinson
4. Lee Collins
5. Jimmy Smith
6. Luke Wilkinson
7. Matt Worthington
8. Lawson D’Ath
9. Rhys Murphy
10. Gold Omotayo
11. Myles Hippolyte
12. Brandon Cooper
14. Courtney Duffus
16. Gabby Rogers
17. Marc Richards
18. Albi Skendi
19. Tom Bradbury
20. Alex John
23. Tom Whelan
24. Remeao Hutton
26. Charlie Lee
31. Adam Smith
33. Chris Dagnall