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Barnet did enough to secure victory but had to settle for 0-0 draw against League Two leaders Port Vale
A goalless draw against League Two leaders Port Vale. It seems a good result for relegation threatened Barnet. Those at Underhill this afternoon though will know the Bees did enough to claim all three points.
For the majority of the contest Edgar Davids’ side outplayed their opponents and kept the division’s top scorer Tom Pope relatively quiet.
Pope did have the best chance of the contest with a header that struck the post in the second half but defeat would have been cruel on Barnet who threatened the visitors’ goal throughout and, had it not been for Vale goalkeeper Chris Neal, the Bees would have claimed all three points.
Davids made two changes to his Barnet team as Barry Fuller and Jake Hyde returned to the starting XI in place of the injured Ricky Holmes and Ibra Sekajja – who dropped to the bench.
The Bees started the contest brightly and controlled possession. Hyde, back in the team after injury, pressed the Vale defence well and forced them into aimless passes forward which were dealt with by hosts’ defence.
Barnet moved the ball well through midfield and Andy Yiadom almost put the Bees ahead with a low strike from distance which grazed the post.
Jon Nurse then tested Vale goalkeeper Neal with a forceful shot from 20 yards but the visiting stopper did well to hold the strike.
The Valiants struggled to impose themselves throughout the opening 45 minutes but almost went ahead when Jennison Myrie-Williams found space in the Bees box and sent an effort towards goal.
Graham Stack was beaten in the Barnet goal but the ball rolled narrowly wide of the post.
The remainder of the half was dominated by the Bees and they created two good chances to go ahead.
Yiadom cut onto his right foot and sent a low shot into the box. Hyde did well to divert the ball goalwards but Neal reacted and made a low save.
The Vale stopper was again forced into action just before the interval as he pushed clear a Mark Byrne cross into the path of Yiadom.
The Barnet winger took a touch and struck a half volley which Neal did well to save with his legs to send the two teams in level at the interval.
The second period continued in the same fashion as the first but Barnet remained frustrated by a stubborn Vale defence.
When the Bees did find a way through Neal kept them at bay. The goalkeeper produced a fantastic one handed save to deny John Oster after he was put through on goal after a clever Elliot Johnson pass.
Nurse again came close from distance with a curling strike which just evaded the post and the Valiants’ frustration was summed up when Daniel Jones smashed a shot from 25 yards well over the crossbar.
Barnet created several half chances which failed to test Neal and the Bees were almost punished when a cross into the box was met by League Two top scorer Pope. However, his header struck the post and was cleared.
With ten minutes remaining the Bees did get the ball in the net as David Stephens headed home an Oster corner. However, the assistant referee deemed the ball has gone out of play prior to the centre-back making contact.
Barnet dropped deeper in the final minutes but remained solid in defence as Vale hit several long passes forward.
The only chance the visitors had dropped to Calvin Andrew but he volleyed over the crossbar from a narrow angle.
Neither side could final a way through in the final moments and while the Bees will be pleased with a point, they will know they did enough to take victory.
Barnet are back on the road next weekend as they visit York City.
Barnet: Stack; Fuller, Stephens, Iro, Johnson, Byrne, Davids (Weston 80), Oster; Yiadom, Nurse (Sekajja 78), Hyde (Crawford 84).
Barnet substitutes: Brown, Kamdjo, Lee, Cowler, Weston, Sekajja, Crawford.
Port Vale: Neal; Purse Duffy Chilvers Jones; Loft Myrie-Williams, Burge, (Shuker 75) Vincent (Andrew 65); Pope, Hughes (Morsy 54).
Port Vale substitutes: Johnson Yates Shuker Morsy Birchall Andrew Williamson.
Attendance: 2,398 (969).