Barnet 0-0 FC Halifax Town: Shaymen draw a blank against The Bees
FC Halifax Town failed to score for the first time in five games as they drew 0-0 at Barnet.
The Shaymen had more chances to win the game, but Barnet squandered some clear opportunities of their own.
Town will probably wonder how they didn't win it in the end, having been the better side for most of the match. A point on the road in the National League is never a bad point, but it could, and arguably should, have been all three.
Various fitness and injury issues deprived Pete Wild of Martin Woods, Matty Warburton, Luke Summerfield, Jack Vale and Jesse Debrah, meaning the same side couldn't start for the third consecutive game, and options were limited in terms of changes.
New signing Elliot Newby came straight into the matchday squad, along with 17-year-old youth team winger Reon Donkor.
Town were awful in defeat here last season, but looked confident and purposeful from the off, like a side in-from and determined to maintain it.
The impressive Jordan Slew, a good attacking outlet on the left and a threat cutting in on his right, fired into the side netting before another well-drilled shot was saved by Sam Sargeant.
Kian Spence and Harvey Gilmour also had shots blocked, with The Shaymen taking the initiative, and looking like the only team that had any to offer.
Tyrell Warren wasn't afraid to step out with the ball at right-back, and Spence was picking the ball up off the back four and trying to dictate play.
The travelling Town fans were loving it; singing in the rain.
But for all their early promise, Town could have been behind when Adam Marriott should have at least hit the target from an angle, but blazed his shot over the bar across goal.
Town were far more comfortable on the ball and building from the back, as exemplified when they pounced on sloppy play from the hosts, but Billy Waters' shot was cleared off the line by Ben Richards-Everton.
Waters then fizzed a shot over the bar after Spence’s clever step over from a left-wing cross.
It seemed only a matter of time before Town found the net, but their superiority gradually began to wash away in the dreary conditions, with a sloppy throw-in and then a slip by Bradbury handing possession to the hosts and giving them needless encouragement.
Mitch Brundle squandered a big chance after being found on the right of the box by Kian Flanagan's nice pass, with Sam Johnson keeping out his low shot.
The hosts lacked quality but deserved credit for their effort and durability. Too many of their efforts had come from loose play by Town, who had been inventive and creative going forward, but should really have converted their pressure into a goal by half-time.
By the second-half, Barnet were less passive, still looking limited in their capabilities but competing far better, while Halifax had come off the gas and their attacks were more disjointed.
The attempted link-ups, one-twos and triangles from Halifax weren't quite coming off, with Gilmour not able to provide the conduit to the attacks that Warburton has so effectively this season.
It was a much more even second-half, with Barnet asking more of The Shaymen, with captain Niall Maher excellent at the back, and requiring them to work harder for chances.
Slew brought another good save from Sargeant, again cutting in from the left on his right, but sights of goal, unlike the weather, had all but dried up.
Barnet had certainly grown in stature and confidence as the game went on after a timid start, and Town just weren't cutting through like they had in the first-half.
Substitute Elliot Newby was lively having come off the bench, and looks like he'll fit into Town's short, sharp passing in the final third.
After a hard-fought contest, in horrible conditions, the light at the end of the tunnel seemed to appear for Waters, who was found with a low cross from the left near the penalty spot with five minutes remaining, but his shot was blocked by Richards-Everton, and squirmed to keeper Sargeant.
The Barnet stopper then reacted brilliantly to keep out Waters' fierce shot in added time from a corner, before a follow-up effort was also saved.
Barnet: Sargeant, Thomas, Richards-Everton, Taylor, Beard (Widdowson 50), Payne, Brundle, Powell, Mason-Clark, Flanagan (Hall 69), Marriott (Bloomfield 71). Subs not used: Oxborough, Fonguck.
Shots on target: 3
Shots off target: 5
Halifax: Johnson, Warren, Maher, Bradbury, Senior, Green, Spence, Allen (Tear 73), Slew (McDonagh 81), Gilmour (Newby 65), Waters. Subs not used: Scott, Donkor.
Shots on target: 7
Shots off target: 8
Attendance: 1,302 (166 away)
Referee: Aaron Jackson
Town man of the match: Niall Maher. A calm, composed figure at the back for Halifax, especially as Barnet improved after the interval.