End of season report card for Potters Bar Town

PUBLISHED: 11:46 13 April 2020 | UPDATED: 11:55 13 April 2020

Potters Bar Edition sports reporter Neil Metcalfe said the two games with Barnet and all that went with it was Potters Bar Town's 'moment of the season'. Picture: DANNY LOO

Potters Bar Edition sports reporter Neil Metcalfe said the two games with Barnet and all that went with it was Potters Bar Town's 'moment of the season'. Picture: DANNY LOO

©2019 Danny Loo Photography - all rights reserved

With the football season over for all non-league club from step three down, Potters Bar Edition sports reporter Neil Metcalfe reviewed the season for Potters Bar Town. Here’s his end-of-year report.

Thomas Gogo of Potters Bar Town passes in the Emirates FA Cup fourth qualifying round replay game between Barnet vs Potters Bar Town Emirates FA Cup fourth qualifying round replay at the Hive Stadium on the 22 October 2019. Picture: DANNY LOOThomas Gogo of Potters Bar Town passes in the Emirates FA Cup fourth qualifying round replay game between Barnet vs Potters Bar Town Emirates FA Cup fourth qualifying round replay at the Hive Stadium on the 22 October 2019. Picture: DANNY LOO

Team name: Potters Bar Town

Division: Isthmian Premier

Final position: 13th (32 of 42 games played)

Potters Bar Town fans before the Emirates FA Cup fourth qualifying round replay game between Barnet vs Potters Bar Town Emirates FA Cup fourth qualifying round replay at the Hive Stadium on the 22 October 2019. Picture: DANNY LOOPotters Bar Town fans before the Emirates FA Cup fourth qualifying round replay game between Barnet vs Potters Bar Town Emirates FA Cup fourth qualifying round replay at the Hive Stadium on the 22 October 2019. Picture: DANNY LOO

FA Cup: Fourth qualifying round (lost 3-1 to Barnet in a replay)

FA Trophy: Second qualifying round (lost 1-0 at Cinderford Town)

Potters Bar Town fans celebrate the draw in the FA Cup fourth qualifying round game between Potters Bar Town vs Barnet at the Pakex Stadium, Potters Bar, Hertfordshire. Picture: DANNY LOOPotters Bar Town fans celebrate the draw in the FA Cup fourth qualifying round game between Potters Bar Town vs Barnet at the Pakex Stadium, Potters Bar, Hertfordshire. Picture: DANNY LOO

Season grade overall: B

The first year at step three had ended in a relegation battle, one they were keen not to repeat.

That was something manager Lee O’Leary said was the goal when I spoke to him in pre-season.

R'Avan Constable of Potters Bar Town celebrates the draw in the FA Cup fourth qualifying round game between Potters Bar Town vs Barnet at the Pakex Stadium, Potters Bar, Hertfordshire. Picture: DANNY LOOR'Avan Constable of Potters Bar Town celebrates the draw in the FA Cup fourth qualifying round game between Potters Bar Town vs Barnet at the Pakex Stadium, Potters Bar, Hertfordshire. Picture: DANNY LOO

Speaking in July he said: “I’m ambitious and the management team are ambitious.

“Everyone knows what the resources are like at the club but I’m not going into the season with staying up as the main aim.”

They ended solidly in the middle of the pack, well clear of relegation, and with the FA Cup run a natural highlight, this season delivered in a lot of areas.

Andy Lomas of Potters Bar Town celebrates the draw in the FA Cup fourth qualifying round game between Potters Bar Town vs Barnet at the Pakex Stadium, Potters Bar, Hertfordshire. Picture: DANNY LOOAndy Lomas of Potters Bar Town celebrates the draw in the FA Cup fourth qualifying round game between Potters Bar Town vs Barnet at the Pakex Stadium, Potters Bar, Hertfordshire. Picture: DANNY LOO

Game of the season: Bishop’s Stortford (away) - October 1

Don’t worry, we’ll get to the big FA Cup clash soon enough but for me the game of the season came four days prior to the third qualifying round tie at Ware.

Potters Bar Town fans celebrate the equalising goal in the FA Cup fourth qualifying round game between Potters Bar Town vs Barnet at the Pakex Stadium, Potters Bar, Hertfordshire. Picture: DANNY LOOPotters Bar Town fans celebrate the equalising goal in the FA Cup fourth qualifying round game between Potters Bar Town vs Barnet at the Pakex Stadium, Potters Bar, Hertfordshire. Picture: DANNY LOO

It was a very rainy Tuesday night in east Hertfordshire but the performance from Lee O’Leary’s men in the 4-1 success was pure champagne football.

It took a little while for them to stamp their authority on the contest but once they did Stortford had no response.

Josh Hutchinson, Brad Sach, George Craddock and Ben Ward-Cochrane got the goals and there could have been more as the Bar Army chanted “it’s just like watching Brazil”.

R'Avan Constable of Potters Bar Town kicks clear in the FA Cup fourth qualifying round game between Potters Bar Town vs Barnet at the Pakex Stadium, Potters Bar, Hertfordshire. Picture: DANNY LOOR'Avan Constable of Potters Bar Town kicks clear in the FA Cup fourth qualifying round game between Potters Bar Town vs Barnet at the Pakex Stadium, Potters Bar, Hertfordshire. Picture: DANNY LOO

O’Leary said afterwards: “The boys were excellent in and out of possession. The momentum is there and it is a really good dressing room but we’re keeping our feet on the ground and just taking it slowly.”

There was no slowly about it on this night, however.

Ben Ward-Cochrane of Potters Bar Town can only flick the ball out and away from goal in the FA Cup fourth qualifying round game between Potters Bar Town vs Barnet at the Pakex Stadium, Potters Bar, Hertfordshire. Picture: DANNY LOOBen Ward-Cochrane of Potters Bar Town can only flick the ball out and away from goal in the FA Cup fourth qualifying round game between Potters Bar Town vs Barnet at the Pakex Stadium, Potters Bar, Hertfordshire. Picture: DANNY LOO

Most pleasing player: Ben Ward-Cochrane

This seemed like a breakthrough season for the lively forward.

He found it difficult to get into the squad early on, so good was the form of Josh Hutchinson and Brad Sach, but he took his chance when it came along, finishing the year with 14 goals, 12 of them in the league.

R'Avan Constable of Potters Bar Town in the FA Cup fourth qualifying round game between Potters Bar Town vs Barnet at the Pakex Stadium, Potters Bar, Hertfordshire. Picture: DANNY LOOR'Avan Constable of Potters Bar Town in the FA Cup fourth qualifying round game between Potters Bar Town vs Barnet at the Pakex Stadium, Potters Bar, Hertfordshire. Picture: DANNY LOO

There were two hat-tricks, the second in what turned out to be the final home game of the year, a 3-1 win over Corinthian Casuals, but the first was back in October at Bognor Regis Town, just after the Stortford game and a week prior to the big clash with Barnet.

It proved the making of him, restoring any damaged confidence, and setting him up for hopefully an even better campaign next time.

George Quarrington-Carter of Potters Bar Town is tackled by Dan Sweeney and Mauro Vilhete of Barnet in the FA Cup fourth qualifying round game between Potters Bar Town vs Barnet at the Pakex Stadium, Potters Bar, Hertfordshire. Picture: DANNY LOOGeorge Quarrington-Carter of Potters Bar Town is tackled by Dan Sweeney and Mauro Vilhete of Barnet in the FA Cup fourth qualifying round game between Potters Bar Town vs Barnet at the Pakex Stadium, Potters Bar, Hertfordshire. Picture: DANNY LOO

Moment of the season: FA Cup games versus Barnet

Had to be didn’t it? The two games against Barnet were simply wonderful, so good in fact that even if they had won through to the first round proper and faced Fleetwood Town, I’m not sure it would have been the same.

I’ve often wondered how clubs like Potters Bar would cope when face with big crowds and huge games. The answer is with flying colours, although that is down to an incredible amount of hard work by the committee and an army of volunteers.

George Quarrington-Carter of Potters Bar Town brings the ball clear in the FA Cup fourth qualifying round game between Potters Bar Town vs Barnet at the Pakex Stadium, Potters Bar, Hertfordshire. Picture: DANNY LOOGeorge Quarrington-Carter of Potters Bar Town brings the ball clear in the FA Cup fourth qualifying round game between Potters Bar Town vs Barnet at the Pakex Stadium, Potters Bar, Hertfordshire. Picture: DANNY LOO

The early kick-off plus the sunshine helped make the day fantastic, with the clubhouse still bouncing when I left at around 5pm.

From a personal point of view it was huge fun. From the build-up and through the first game to the replay, everything was a joy.

And even though there is an unwritten rule that you show no emotion in the press box and remain entirely neutral, I make no apology for punching the air in delight when Andy Lomas fired in that late, late equaliser.

Josh Hutchinson of Potters Bar Town in the FA Cup fourth qualifying round game between Potters Bar Town vs Barnet at the Pakex Stadium, Potters Bar, Hertfordshire. Picture: DANNY LOOJosh Hutchinson of Potters Bar Town in the FA Cup fourth qualifying round game between Potters Bar Town vs Barnet at the Pakex Stadium, Potters Bar, Hertfordshire. Picture: DANNY LOO

What’s next?

Mid-table again will likely be the minimum wanted but I’d like to think that with a couple of new signings there is no reason the Scholars can’t make a concerted push for the play-offs.

Ben Ward-Cochrane of Potters Bar Town scores the first goal in the Emirates FA Cup fourth qualifying round replay game between Barnet vs Potters Bar Town Emirates FA Cup fourth qualifying round replay at the Hive Stadium on the 22 October 2019. Picture: DANNY LOOBen Ward-Cochrane of Potters Bar Town scores the first goal in the Emirates FA Cup fourth qualifying round replay game between Barnet vs Potters Bar Town Emirates FA Cup fourth qualifying round replay at the Hive Stadium on the 22 October 2019. Picture: DANNY LOO

Yes, they don’t have the money to spend some in the league have but they are not far away squad-wise, maybe just a handful of players.

Lee O’Leary has now had one year in the dugout and will have learned a lot about management and about himself and his players.

He already has many years of experience on the pitch but being the boss is different.

However, his contacts should be extensive enough that he can get the right quality of player in that adds to the quality and gives them that vital boost.


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