Skip Navigation Links
Skip Navigation Links
Quick Links


Quite an afternoon at The Hive as Chesterfield are dismantled by a Kabamba masterclass. Hands off. By: Max Bygraves 29/01/2023
Chesterfield H
28/01/2023   (Click date for match details)
League 2022-2023
W  3- 0
Attendance: 2277  (640 Away)

This article has been viewed 561 times.

Well, what can you say about that? Good, wasn’t it?

After three consecutive postponements due to freezing conditions, finally a return to action at the end of what should have been a big week of games. A quite incredible set of fixtures and a gruelling schedule now lies ahead, meaning a big game against tough opposition became that bit more significant, prior to the upcoming odyssey of away games.

Chesterfield find themselves in a funny position. They’re not going to be in the title race, but are all but guaranteed to be comfortably in the play offs. On the evidence of the opening exchanges, it was clear that there was a lot of quality within their team, but some sloppy passes almost suggested an arguably justifiable feeling of, ‘Can we not just start the play offs now?’ Wrexham and Notts County really making it quite unfair and spoiling it for everyone.

Barnet were on the front foot and aggressive from the off. Kanu was keen to get on the ball and cause trouble down the left flank, as both sides created ‘oooh’ worthy chances. On the face of the team selection, it had looked as if we were perhaps going for a cautious approach. This was, however, quickly dispelled.

My esteemed colleague, The Wardrobe, was none too impressed by the inclusion of Woods in the starting eleven. This was a shared view; of the current crop, to now, he’d been the one player that it was hard to see the real value or role of. It turns out, we’ve been getting it wrong along - perhaps.

Brennan admitted post-match Woods had been selected to nullify a specific threat from the opponents who they then had opted not to start. The result of this being a player who has previously appeared cumbersome and prone to error, playing a seemingly free role that Edgar Davids would have been envious of. More on him later. Woods that is, not the bespectacled Dutch international.

In the build-up to the game this week, there were some very unwelcome Twitter rumours that Chesterfield had made an enquiry for Nicke Kabamba. The forward had previously had a short spell with Paul Cook at Portsmouth in 2017 and given the likelihood of their main striker leaving, it’s not the most far-fetched transfer suggestion.

One would hope that given the ‘home’ he’s found at Barnet, his form in this team, the manager’s confidence, the adoration of the fans and the guaranteed first team football in a decent side in this division, he’d stay. He turns 30 in the coming week and it’s unlikely too many higher up would gamble on a player of that age. Sadly though, money talks and if the right offer did come in from Chesterfield, you’d also imagine the salary offer would be a lot more than he’s on now and give him something to seriously consider. Let’s hope the events of today have made the initial list of reasons clearer in his mind, although perhaps it will have only upped their desire to bring him in…

It was Barnet’s number nine who broke the deadlock with a close-range finish from a corner on thirty-three minutes. This coming shortly after a close call where goal-line technology may have already had us in the lead. Following a good spell of pressure and a string of corners, it was a deserved advantage.

During one of the worst tasting half time pints of the season, the mood was positive and I boldly stated to The Wardrobe that I thought a 3-1 win was on the cards. We’d shown in the first forty-five that we could more than match them, and this team have given us reason to be optimistic in this kind of situation.

Chesterfield had clearly been given a half time rocket and started the second half as expected. We weathered the storm well, with a few close calls. An incredible error in front of goal from Chesterfield (when it was harder to miss) was soon followed by a superb goal line clearance from captain Dale Gorman. Certainly one of the Irishman’s finest displays so far in a Barnet shirt in this one, dogged throughout, it proved a huge moment in the game.

The talented but hot-tempered Armando Dobra was lucky to only receive a yellow for what looked like a face-push (is that a thing?) on Idris Kanu, as things heated up but Brennan’s side showed composure when emotion could have taken over. The influence of characters like Jerome Okimo, who has gone unnoticed to an extent perhaps due to the collective success this season so far, certainly cannot be underestimated. This team have got each other’s backs and are clearly tuned in to keep one another in check. The constant mention of ‘togetherness’ from the manager is more than just an easy word to throw out; it's there for all to see.

On seventy-seven minutes, came perhaps my favourite moment of the season so far. Woods’ industry was fantastic throughout but it really got its reward when he scrappily dispossessed the defender deep in their half and released Kabamba. The finish was that of a man brimming with confidence. The goalkeeper expected it to go across him and looked stumped when it was thumped into the roof of the net to give Barnet a very welcome two goal cushion.

Cue big man hugs with The Wardrobe. I wrote in the Wealdstone write up how it had taken until about that point in my ‘return’ to watching Barnet regularly for a goal to prompt that kind of unplanned, delirious reaction. Three times today. Although, any excuse to get into the big man’s arms in fairness. So warm, so safe. Sorry, am I still typing?

There was a real buzz about the place after this. Some of the incredibly quiet following from Derbyshire began to make their way out, as the youngsters in Block F excitedly waved them goodbye and informed them we were on our way. There was time to blow it, but it really didn’t feel like we would.

Having barely sat down from the second goal, we were on our feet in a similarly brilliant scenario five minutes from the end. It’s hard to describe in writing, but anyone who goes to football regularly and appreciates the reactions of the crowd will hopefully know what I mean when I say it was another: ‘go on… go on… ye…ye..yesssss!’ type of goal which really put the icing on the cake. Delightful.

Another superb finish from Kabamba earned him his first career hat trick and crowned a fantastic performance with a thumping 3-0 win over the side in third place.

The final whistle saw some very amusing scenes behind Laurie Walker’s goal. Known for his enjoyment of rattling opposition fans, he didn’t disappoint here. His interaction causing several Spireites* (due to a very good friend of mine being a die-hard Mansfield Town fan, I can't think of Chesterfield fans as anything other than "Spireite bastuds") to completely lose their heads. The highlight, which nearly sparked a mass brawl, being Marvin Armstrong running over looking like he was going to diffuse things, only to jump on the goalie’s back and join in with the shithousery. Brilliant. This team are very, very hard not to like.

A deserved ovation for Dean Brennan, the team and in particular the hat-trick hero followed. Kabamba enjoying his chant so much he did a little jig to the youngsters at the front during his song as he trotted off with the match ball. He’s not going anywhere, is he? Please…?!

At the start I asked: What can you say about it? Quite a lot, it turns out. Personally, the most enjoyable afternoon of the season so far.

Good luck to those hardy souls doing the six away games in a nineteen-day spell beginning Tuesday. The mileage coming up is beyond the support I can offer around work and family commitments these days; if this was 2007, I would be all over it.

Given the current fever pitch however, I imagine a few quid will be going into the pocket of the new streaming service from me. The buzz is well and truly back.

Back To Article List

Got something to say? Agree or disagree? Maybe you can write your own? Head to The Mailbox post haste!

All Articles By This Author:

Other Articles By Category

  All materials on this site copyright Downhill Second Half and its individual authors. Content may not be reproduced without prior written permission. Special thanks to Chris Holland for use of photography and John Snow, John Erroll and Tony Hammond for statistical compilation.

A huge thank you also to Rob Cavallini whose Barnet history books set the basis for our journey to complete all statistics back to the start of Barnet FC.

Club crests, player images, and company logos are the property of their respective owners. They are included in this website for reference purposes only./span>