AFC Fylde travel to North London for a National League meeting with Barnet FC at the Hive on Tuesday, 3 October 2023 (7:45pm).

Ahead of kick-off under the lights, we take a look at high-flyers Barnet FC, as the Bees get set to host the Coasters. 

The Lowdown

The Coasters come into this game with Barnet on the back of a disappointing 0-2 defeat at home to Woking FC. The Coasters created very few opportunities in front of goal, with their best efforts being from distance. They will now look to bounce back with a positive result at the Hive on Tuesday night.

Murray’s men also learned their fate when it comes to the next round of the FA Cup, which will see them face lower-league opposition in Leek Town.

Barnet come into this match at the opposite end of the table to the Coasters after having the perfect start to 2023/24. Unbeaten in their last four, an impressive 2-1 away win at Kidderminster Harriers sees the Bees in 2nd position and 20 points in front of the Coasters. 

The Manager: Dean Brennan

Dublin-born Dean started his well-travelled playing career at Sheffield Wednesday – however, he never made an appearance for the Owls. Brennan then moved back home to Bohemians, where again, he didn’t make a single appearance before he moved back to England and non-league Luton Town. 

Between 2000 and 2012, Brennan plied his trade for 16 different clubs, all of whom were part of England’s Non-League scene, making him a quite well-known figure.

Starring for the likes of AFC Wimbledon, Lewes, Hendon and Grays, Brennan became well known with the London audience and earned himself the nickname of the Irish Beckham for his wicked crosses into the box. 

Many years and many clubs later, Brennan found himself with his first managerial role at Hemel Hempstead, a place where he took over as Caretaker Manager at the age of 29. At the age of 32, Brennan hung up his boots, ending his career at Dunstable Town before quickly moving into management the following season after retiring.

Dean moved back to Hemel as First Team Manager this time, and in his first season, he managed to gain a trophy, winning the Hertfordshire senior cup and a playoff final finish, where they eventually lost out to Gosport Borough.

The following 2013-14 season saw more success for Hemel and Brennan when they gained promotion to the Conference South, finishing as champions whilst also reaching the FA Cup for the first time since 1938. 

Six seasons later, Brennan joined Billericay Town. This spell lasted four months before his contract was terminated by the owners. 

It was less than a month before Brennan found himself a new job at Kingstonian in February 2019 before later resigning five games into the job due to a breakdown in communications with a Club Director. 

Brennan then waited three months for a new job before taking over at Wealdstone FC. In the Covid season of 2019-20, Brennan oversaw Wealdstone’s promotion to the National League, where the club has remained ever since, 

However, Brennan found himself on the move again. He joined London rivals Barnet FC in 2021 as Head of Football. Brennan has since moved into the role of Head Coach and has achieved one playoff finish with the Bees.  

Key Players

Nicke Kabamba – The tall centre forward is one of the deadliest frontmen in the National League. 19 goals last time out proved his record is not to be scoffed at, and with nine goals already this season, Kabamba seems set to break last year’s tally. 

Zak Brunt – With trials at Real Madrid and Manchester City on his CV, Brunt is certainly playing below his level. At just 21, Brunt has featured before in the National League, impressing at Boreham Wood last season on loan from Sheffield United before Barnet snapped him up this summer for an undisclosed fee. A Midfielder with skill and quality, he could be the difference between the title and the playoffs.

Reece Hall-Johnson – The wing-back was a smart acquisition from newly promoted Wrexham FC. He is someone who likes to get forward but also has the agility and pace to cover and get back. 

Previous Meetings

22nd September 2018 – Barnet FC 1-1 AFC Fylde – National League

Goalscorers: The Bees – Shaquile Coulthirst

Fylde – Danny Philliskirk.

23rd February 2019 – AFC Fylde 0-0 Barnet FC (Fylde won 4-3 on penalties) – FA Trophy QF

19th April 2019 – AFC Fylde 1-0 Barnet FC – National League 

Goalscorer: Fylde – Danny Rowe.

1st October 2019 – AFC Fylde 0-4 Barnet FC – National League 

Goalscorers: The Bees – Ricardo Santos, Simeon Akinola, Josh Walker & Mauro Vilhete.

7th December 2019 – Barnet FC 2-1 AFC Fylde – National League

Goalscorers: The Bees – Jack Taylor, Simeon Akinola

Fylde – Danny Rowe.

Opposition Form

The Bees have started this campaign in impressive form, losing just twice all season and are so far unbeaten at home. 

Three points behind Chesterfield at the top of the league proves Brennan’s side can keep up with anyone. Being the second-highest scorers in the league and having one of the better defensive records shows that Barnet could be a potential title challenger this time out. 

A solid home record consisting of only two dropped points following a draw with Halifax means that Fylde will have to be at their best under the lights at the Hive. 

Match Preview is written by Benji Jenkinson.