The last day of the League 2 season brings confirmation of two new teams joining us down in the Conference National. While we knew we had a trip to the Darlington Arena lined up for next term, today the final day showdown involving Grimsby and Barnet went the way of the Hertfordshire side – which was written in stone from the moment Grimsby fans invaded the pitch last week at the end of the big showdown between the two, taunting the Barnet fans… presumably those Grimsby fans who pray at the altar of the Football Gods were tearing their hair out.
And sure enough they fell apart at the Pirelli Stadium this afternoon, a 0-3 defeat that its fair to say a small minority of the visiting supporters took with all the good grace of a Luton Town fan that had money on Esther Rantzen making it to Parliament. Much as Grimsby may bring a larger support into the division than Stevenage Borough had, I doubt they will be challenging at the right end of the table next term. With the Dons and even last day survivors Gateshead turning pro for next season, just being professional doesn’t automatically give the advantage it did even a few years ago, and I would imagine the Mariners will look to rebuild next term.
As for Darlington, well their crowds have shrunk to almost BSN levels as the inevitability of demotion has struck, and you have to question the logic of them even remaining full-time while stuck at a white elephant stadium miles out-of-town. After this image was featured over on Pitch Invasion earlier in the week, you wonder about the practicalities of bringing the team back into town, and maybe that will be the Quakers only hope of a return to the Football League with no scope for development at the Arena to bring in extra income.
Another two clubs will be added to the line-up tomorrow, this time coming up rather than going down. Fleetwood and Alfreton face off in the BSN play-off final, while Bath City and Woking are paired off in the South division.
Meanwhile, at Wembley Stadium, Barrow came from behind to defeat Champions Stevenage. Andy Drury put Boro ahead on ten minutes before the holders were reduced to ten men after David Bridges attempted to remove Andy Bond’s genetalia with his studs. Barrow finally made the extra man count with ten minutes left as Lee McEvilly planted a header into the bottom corner to level things up. It looked as though the sides would play out extra time with ten men apiece when Robin Hubbert clumsy attempt to remove Charlie Griffins head was spotted by the keen eyed referee, but unfortunately for Boro, who had used all three subs already, a broken Griffin wasn’t much use for them in the extra period on behalf of being immobile in an ambulance at the time. Finally Jason Walker buried a right foot drive just inside the far post to hand Barrow their second Trophy victory.