Barnet’s slump continues. Another Skrill Premier defeat, the Bees’ fourth in succession, means the play-off dream is quickly fading.
Barnet’s latest failing came at Macclesfield Town. A poor match was settled by two late goals. The first was scored by Chris Holroyd. The striker tapped home from close range after Nick Jupp failed to hold onto a free-kick.
The second was comical. Jupp’s poor clearance was fired towards goal by Daniel Whitaker from just inside the Barnet half. The Bees goalkeeper attempted to push the shot away but could only palm the ball into his own net.
Barnet did have several players missing and there were four changes to the Bees side. New loan signings Connor Dymond and Alex Peterson started in place of Marciano Mengerink and Ahmed Abdulla. Goalkeeper Jupp came in for the suspended Graham Stack while Keanu Marsh-Brown replaced Jon Nurse.
The two sides traded early shots. Jack Mackreth forced Jupp into a routine stop while Harry Crawford drilled a shot over the crossbar.
Barnet’s first real opening arrived from a free-kick. Kieran Cadogan clipped a cross to the back post and Valentin Gjokaj headed the ball down into the six yard box.
Mauro Vilhete attempted to scramble a shot past goalkeeper Rhys Taylor but his effort was pushed wide of the post.
Chances continued to be at a premium. Jupp easily stopped a shot from Scott Boden while Vilhete dragged a strike into the arms of Taylor.
Peterson had started well but faded as the half progressed while Dymond was cautioned just before the interval after scything down Danny Whitaker.
The second period began with the Bees almost going ahead. Crawford won a free-kick which was taken by Marsh-Brown.
The winger clipped his shot over the wall but Taylor pushed the ball onto the bar. David Stephens was quickest to react but he could only direct the rebound over the crossbar.
Jupp continued to be tested from distance. The Bees stopper was again alert to deny Paul Turnbull’s half volley from the edge of the box.
Barnet had struggled to penetrate the Macclesfield defence but a positive run from Marsh-Brown did create an opportunity. However, substitute Ahmed Abdulla’s low drive was pushed clear by Taylor.
The Silkmen goalkeeper then had to react quickly to push away a Vilhete strike before Abdulla sliced a half volley well over the crossbar.
Macclesfield had rarely threatened but almost went ahead with 14 minutes remaining. A good free kick from Daniel Andrew was met by Carl Martin and the centre-back’s header drifted inches wide of the post.
From their next attack, the home side went ahead. A controversial free kick was given against Stephens on the edge of the area.
Turnbull took the set-piece and his low shot wasn’t gathered by Jupp. The ball broke to Holroyd who managed to force the ball over the line.
Barnet had plenty of possession after going behind but never looked like finding an equaliser.
And, with three minutes remaining, Macclesfield sealed their victory. Jupp came to deal with a pass but scuffed his clearance to Whitaker.
The midfielder was just inside the Barnet half but he hit a first time shot towards goal. Jupp ran back and attempted to spoon the ball away.
However, he could only push the shot into the net to the delight of the home supporters. It condemned the Bees to yet another defeat.
They’ve failed to score in three of their last four matches and are desperately missing top scorer Jake Hyde.
A defeat against Hereford United at The Hive on Saturday would surely end the play-off dream. Dick Schreuder and Ulrich Landvreugd will have to come up with a way to end the rot.
Macclesfield Town: Taylor, Andrew, Martin, Turnbull, Mackreth, Williams, Lewis (Holroyd 74), Boden, Whitaker, Rowe (Gnahoua 78), Pilkingon Macclesfield Town substitutes: Connor, Sodje, Halls.
Barnet: Jupp; Yiadom, Stephens, Gjokaj, Vilhete; Weston, Dymond (Abdulla 63); Cadogan (Gambin 78), Crawford, Marsh-Brown (Mengerink 88); Peterson.
Barnet substitutes: Johnson, Nurse.