Barnet extended their unbeaten run in League Two to seven games with a comeback win over Notts County – but what did we learn about the team?
Ephron Mason-Clark has unreal potential
John Akinde was given his umpteenth strike partner of the season when Ephron Mason-Clark was named in the starting line-up in the league for the first time in his career.
Having impressed on League Two debut as a substitute against Crewe, Martin Allen threw him into the team, clearly impressed by his attitude and his ability.
“He’s so bright and positive.
“I asked the players before the game about what we worked on in training yesterday and Ephron put his hand up and told me everything we did.
“He did a speech to everybody before the game and I thought ‘Oh my god’.
“We’ve got to enjoy him. I’ll help him and look after.
“We’re moving in the right direction with our young players.
“Ephron is an outstanding talent and if he kicks on then…well, he’s got a lot of work to do with us first.
“But the potential with him is huge.”
Perhaps worryingly for Barnet fans, Allen spoke as though he would not be able to hang on to the 17-year-old for long.
However, as the boss says, they must enjoy him while they can.
John Akinde is more than just goals
Akinde is often written off as a big man up front for a long ball team.
But the 27-year-old is a big part of everything that Barnet do and had a part in each of the three goals today.
He turned out of nowhere and had his shot saved for Bira Dembele’s rebound. He nodded the ball on before it fell to Luke Gambin for his first. He intercepted a pass in his own half to trigger the counter-attack for what turned out to be the winner.
Early in the season, Allen would shout at Akinde almost constantly, asking for more from him.
Today, the boss could not praise his performance enough on a day when Gambin will likely draw many of the plaudits.
He is a dynamic player with real quality in areas and at his best he is undefendable at this level.
Like Mason-Clark, the club must hope to hang on to him for as long as possible.
Is Luke Gambin on his way out the door?
Gambin told the club he didn’t want a new contract this summer and they accepted a bid from Leyton Orient of more than £100,000 but the move never transpired.
His two goals today were the pinnacle of one of his better performances this season.
His lack of physicality will always be a problem but the skill he possesses is undeniable.
Gambin has not yet shown the consistency to really be a regular at the higher level which is where he wants to play.
Club and player need to decide whether they want to persist until a point where he can show that consistency.
Transfer business is back!
Seven days ago, I wrote after Barnet’s 0-0 draw with Crewe that January would likely be a quiet one at the club. And until late on Monday night, that was still true.
But the deal that took Bondz N’Gala to Eastleigh for £60,000 went through on Tuesday and now the Bees look certain to make a move to strengthen in January.
Fingers are crossed that Dembele and Michael Nelson stay fit and well but if one went down there would be a serious shortage of personnel.
Sam Togwell filled in at right-back today (very ably too but he is not a natural at all) to suggest that there is already a problem.
With some fresh funds in the chairman’s pocket he may be feeling more generous after Christmas, especially if Barnet’s move towards the playoff places continues.