MATCH VERDICT: Shaymen beaten at bottom-club Barnet

FC Halifax Town slipped to a hugely disappointing defeat as they lost 2-1 at bottom club Barnet.

Tuesday, 16th February 2021, 8:58 pm
Updated Tuesday, 16th February 2021, 9:02 pm
Barnet v FC Halifax Town

The Shaymen's return to action after two-and-a-half weeks was certainly not worth waiting for as goals from Michael Petrasso and Anthony Wordsworth proved enough for the hosts' first win in 16 games, and only their third league victory of the season, with Jeff King scoring for Town.

Pete Wild warned it was one of the biggest games of his side's season, but his team didn't play like it.

Barnet manager Tim Flowers barked out constant instructions from the sidelines which echoed around the empty stadium, mainly concerned with his side's communication and positioning.

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The hosts may have been careless in possession and lacking quality on the ball, but they were organised and worked hard, looking far better than their league position suggested.

Town weren't making much headway, only seeing the ball in areas Barnet weren't too fussed about and failing to penetrate the hosts.

Kieran Green, as impressive as anyone for the visitors, had a shot tipped behind after good work by Jamie Allen, before a shot by Liam Daly flashed just wide from Wordsworth's free-kick.

There was a determination and a drive about Barnet, despite their lowly status, egged on by Flowers' constant shouts of "press, press!", that a more lethargic Town didn't quite possess.

Petrasso, Barnet's danger man with four goals in nine league games, was given too much time and space on the ball, almost inexplicably so, and took advantage with a low shot from around the edge of the box, which Sam Johnson should have done better to keep out.

But there was nothing the Town keeper could have done about Barnet's second, with midfielder Wordsworth's shot poetry-in-motion as it sailed across goal from an angle 40 yards out.

The Bees had scored more than once for only the second time in their last 18 games - both of which were against Halifax.

The other occasion had seen Town rack up five at The Shay back in December, but Halifax were a shadow of the purposeful attacking side from that day.

There wasn't much in the positives column from the opening 45, but Town did at least respond in the right way and halved the deficit before the break as King rifled a shot across goal into the top corner.

But the visitors shouldn't have been in the position of needing a late first-half goal to stay in the game.

For all of Barnet's effort, it hadn't been good enough from Town. It hardly seemed worth waiting 17 days for.

Green and King carried the fight for Town after the interval as The Shaymen, as expected, now saw the majority of the ball.

But it was what they did with it that counted. They passed it quicker and played higher up the pitch, but chances were elusive as Barnet held out.

The hosts' defence was strong and solid, but didn't have to stretch every sinew to keep Halifax out, with The Shaymen lacking finesse in the form of a killer pass or cross.

Pete Wild resisted until 20 minutes were left before bringing on Jake Hyde for his first appearance in two months. He must've wished he could have brought on Luke Summerfield too for some much needed craft and composure.

Hyde hardly got a kick as Town made no progress in threatening an equaliser, not helped by Barnet's time-wasting which incensed Wild and his players.

What was far more infuriating was Halifax's failure to break Barnet down. For all their possession and crosses, precious few chances arrived, other than Hyde heading over from a corner, and Barnet held on.

Barnet: Loach, Richards-Everton, Judd, Daly, Taylor, Binnom-Williams, Dunne, Wordsworth, Petrasso (Mason-Clark 67), Baker-Richardson (Faal 82), Hooper (McBurnie 90). Subs not used: Azaze, Kefalas.

Scorers: Petrasso (33), Wordsworth (45)

Shots on target: 4

Shots off target: 3

Corners: 3

Halifax: Johnson, Byrne, Maher, Bradbury (Hyde 69), King, Woods, Green, Earing (Tear 89), Senior, Allen, Campbell (Williams 77). Subs not used: Renshaw, Benn.

Scorer: King (45)

Shots on target: 3

Shots off target: 10

Corners: 9

Referee: Sunny Gill

Town man of the match: Kieran Green. Used the ball well and worked hard in the midfield engine room. Best of a poor bunch on the night.