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Mauro Vilhete headed home in the final moment to secure a 1-0 victory for Barnet against Southport
The more things change the more they stay the same. It’s something Barnet fans would’ve been forgiven for thinking prior to the Bees’ home match against Southport.
Just like last week Uli Landvreugd and Dick Schruder were in the dugout. Edgar Davids was nowhere to be seen. And Barnet had to win to keep their play-off push behind.
Crucially after the game there were a big differences and none more important than the Bees claiming a 1-0 victory thanks to a late Mauro Vilhete header.
Landvreugd and Schruder are now in permanent charge after Davids departure seven days ago.
They made two changes to the Barnet side. Dani Lopez and Luisma Villa replaced Luke Gambin and Jordan Brown.
Barnet returned to the 4-5-1 shape which they had used during Edgar Davids’ reign.
Curtis Weston had an early shot saved while the Bees snuffed out a couple of threatening Southport attacks.
Barnet did look to build attacks from their defence but the home side tried early passes forward towards Keanu Marsh-Brown and that allowed the winger space to attack Ben Jefford.
Marsh-Brown was the Bees’ main threat in the first half and a powerful run resulted in him forcing Southport goalkeeper Danny Hurst into a reflex low save.
Lopez, who signed a loan deal until the end of the season on Thursday, started out on the left wing but struggled to make an impact.
Marsh-Brown, however, continued to create and cause problems and he came in off the right flank and Hurst did well to push clear a rising shot.
Southport had offered little going forward in the opening 45 minutes but they defended well and blocked a number of Barnet shots from the edge of the penalty area.
The second half was played in atrocious conditions. A large storm meant swirling winds, driving rain and thunder and lightning. The game, however, continued.
Jake Hyde almost put the home side ahead but saw his near post shot saved by Hurst. Minutes later and the Southport stopper again denied the Bees striker.
Barnet managed to fashion chances despite the weather. Hyde was again denied before Villa fired a free kick over.
The visitors had struggled to test Nick Jupp throughout but their best chance came on the break.
Osayamen Osawe was slipped in behind the Bees defence and sent a low shot towards goal. Jupp got down well and pushed the ball clear, it was a left off.
Barnet looked to immediately react and Villa had a near post strike saved. As the minutes ticked away Jon Nurse lashed wide and it seemed the game was headed for a draw.
But a last minute attack proved the difference. Nurse won a corner which was crossed in by Villa. Vilhete, the smallest player on the pitch, managed to escape his marker and head past Hurst.
Cue wild celebrations from the fans and players. Everyone knew how important this game was in order to reignite a failing promotion bid.
Less than a minute later and the referee blew the final whistle. It was a winning start for Landvreugd and Schruder.
Harder tests will await the Bees in the coming weeks, starting at Macclesfield Town next Saturday, but there is a sense of optimism around the squad which could prove vital in the final past of this season.
Barnet: Jupp; Yiadom, Stephens, Saville, Vilhete; Byrne, Weston, Villa; Marsh-Brown (Abdulla 84), Hyde (Crawford 81), Lopez (Nurse 72).
Barnet substitutes: Johnson, Casabella.
Southport: Hurst: Daly, Nsila, George, Jefford; Dillon, Brown, O'Neill, O'Sullivan; Ledsham (Osawe 64), Brodie.
Southport substitutes: Flynn, Smith, Rutherford, Winner.
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