Barnet 3-0 FC Halifax Town

editorial image

FC Halifax Town were beaten 3-0 at league leaders Barnet to all-but end their hopes of securing a top-five finish.

On Grand National day, Barnet showed exactly why they are the front-runners in the race to the Football League with an impressive display.

Halifax, meanwhile, have drifted away from the chasing pack for the play-offs and are in the realm of mathematical miracles if they are to extend their season.

For Town to have been in the mix this long is no mean feat though, and they will be keen to avoid the campaign ending with a whimper in their final three games.

Just like this game last term, there can be no arguments about the result as Barnet over-ran The Shaymen and highlighted their promotion credentials.

For Town not to register a shot on target is a rare occurrence, and showed how dominant Barnet were.

Town never got going here, with first-half goals by Mauro Vilhete and John Akinde added to after the restart by Curtis Weston to ensure there was no repeat of Town’s 4-0 demolition job here last season.

Martin Allen was effusive in his praise of Neil Aspin in his programme notes, saying the day Halifax beat his side 4-0 last season was when he knew he needed to rebuild his side and that Town were the inspiration behind his current team.

Praise indeed.

The Barnet boss was barking out the orders from the first whistle, but can’t fail to have been delighted with how The Bees started.

From Elliott Johnson’s left-wing cross, a shot was blocked before Vilhete’s miscued shot looped over Glennon into the top corner.

That was the start of a blistering opening spell for the hosts, who forced two early corners and some excellent defending from James Bolton and Marc Roberts to clear dangerous crosses into the box.

Allen continued to pace his technical area as if he was walking on hot coals but his energy and enthusiasm on the sidelines were matched by his players on the pitch.

Town hadn’t buckled, despite the early sting in the tale, but were under enough pressure to convince the Halifax bench a change was needed, with Jamie Jackson replacing Graham Hutchison, prompting a switch to 4-4-2.

Although it didn’t pay immediate dividends, with Curtis Weston’s shot deflected wide and Conor Clifford’s thunderbolt from 30 yards crashing off the bar.

Allen, who also said before the game that his team would have to be at their best to beat their visitors, continued to bark out the orders, perhaps a sign of concern that Barnet had only scored once during their early dominance.

The change to 4-4-2 had stemmed the tide, while also helping Town get more bodies into the Barnet half.

But Town hadn’t got going as an attacking force, emphasised when Jack Muldoon threw his arms up in frustration when a Matt Pearson pass was played too far ahead of him.

At the other end, Akinde’s first effort of the afternoon whistled over the angle of post and bar a few minutes before the break.

Allen was in wind-down mode as the interval approached, imploring the seats just in front of the press box not to give the ball back straight away when it bounced out of play.

So Akinde’s effort was a lovely added bonus, especially as it came from a Scott McManus back-pass that was too short, allowing the Barnet man to nip in and slot past Glennon for his 31st league goal of the season.

It was also his 10th in his last 13 games and his seventh in his last six home appearances; League Two watch out.

Allen took a detour on his way to the dressing rooms at half-time to gee-up the fans in the main stand, with Barnet about to take another giant step towards the Conference title.

As for Town’s play-off hopes, they stood eight points adrift of the top-five with nine points left to play for if results stayed the same following another 45 minutes.

It was a more sedate start to the second-half for the Barnet boss, who grabbed a drink and took a seat in the stand.

At least that was the idea, but Allen was as excitable as ever despite his team’s seemingly comfortable lead.

Danny Schofield was brought on at half-time in an attempt to help turn the tide, but that looked a tough ask, with Muldoon and Danny Hattersley continuing to see little of the ball in attack.

Any lingering hopes Town had of a comeback were ended when a superb jinking run by Andy Yiadom was followed up by Weston slotting in his low cross six yards out.

Cue chants of ‘we are going up’ from the main stand, a song Halifax fans won’t be singing again this season.

Vilhete squandered a great chance to add his second and Barnet’s fourth after some delightful interplay with Akinde.

Even with the score at 3-0, Town just couldn’t get a handle on the contest as The Bees pressed on, with Clifford firing another long-ranger just wide and substitute Luke Gambin bringing a save from Glennon.

Barnet: Stack; Yiadom, Stephens, N’Gala, Johnson; Vilhete (Gambin 86), Togwell, Weston (Villa 85), Clifford; Akinde (McDonald 80), Gash. Subs not used: Saville, Muggleton.

Scorers: Vilhete (2), Akinde (44), Weston (62)

Shots on target: 9

Shots off target: 5

Corners: 8

Halifax: Glennon, Bolton, M Roberts, Hutchison (Jackson 20), Williams, McManus, Maynard, Pearson, Hatfield (Schofield 46), Hattersley (Boden 83), Muldoon. Subs not used: Senior, K Roberts.

Shots on target: 0

Shots off target: 2

Corners: 1

Attendance: 2,150

Town man of the match: James Bolton