Barnet went down to their second pre-season defeat as Luton Town ran out 2-0 winners at The Hive this afternoon

Mauro Vilhete (centre) came as close as anyone with a first-half header for the Bees. Picture: Action Images

Mauro Vilhete (centre) came as close as anyone with a first-half header for the Bees. Picture: Action Images

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Barnet fell to their second pre-season defeat after going down to last season’s Conference champions, Luton Town, at The Hive this afternoon.

Seconds before half time, Mark Cullen grabbed the first when put through one-on-one. Alex Wall then missed a second-half penalty for the Hatters before Jake Howells converted from 12 yards when John Still’s side were awarded a second spot kick.

The Bees had been the better side in the first half without reaching the same levels they had against both Peterborough United and Stevenage in their opening two friendly clashes.

Whilst the first goal was harsh on the Bees, the League Two side had the better of the second period and deserved the win.

Allen named a strong starting XI, with every member of the side contracted to the Bees for the first time in pre-season.

The shape also switched from 4-4-2 to 4-3-3 as Jon Nurse, Charlie MacDonald and trialist Gavin Mahon were all rested ahead of Tuesday’s visit from Championship outfit Brentford.

A bright start from the Bees saw Luisma Villa test Town goalkeeper Mark Tyler after just three minutes; the experienced gloveman beating the Spaniard’s firm drive to safety.

The visitors had struggled to create anything in the early stages, only briefly threatening when a Luke Rooney pass picked out forward Cullen in space before Barnet cleared.

John Akinde saw a penalty appeal turned down by referee Andy Woolmer when he tussled with beefy centre-back, Stephen McNulty.

Captain for the day, Keanu Marsh-Brown, was at the centre of Barnet’s best spell around the half-hour mark, driving towards the edge of the area before chipping over when he arguably should have shot sooner.

Luke Gambin then tried his luck, firing a low effort down the throat of Tyler from the left-hand corner of the 18-yard box.

The industrious Mauro Vilhete had the Bees’ best chance a couple of minutes later, heading towards goal from point-blank range after good work down the right by Akinde, only to be denied by the agile Tyler.

Sixty seconds before the break, Luton took a lead their first half performance had scarcely deserved.

A perfectly-weighted pass split the Bees defensive line and saw Cullen and Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu advance towards the penalty area before Cullen coolly stroked beyond the advancing Graham Stack.

Villa had Barnet’s first chance after the break, picking up a loose ball on the edge of the Hatters penalty area before curling into the palms of Tyler from 20 yards.

Just before the hour, Luton were awarded a penalty when half-time substitute Bondz N’Gala brought down Mpanzu after a good spell of play from the visitors.

Hatters forward Alex Wall then thrashed the resulting spot kick against the face of the crossbar, the ball ricocheting away to safety.

Both sides made a spate of changes in the 69th minute, with Barnet bringing on four fresh faces and Luton six.

The League Two side carved out a good chance shortly after the raft of substitutions, with Jim Stevenson denied by trialist Sam Cowler.

A precise Cullen cross from the right found Stevenson steaming in unmarked at the back post, where Cowler gott down well to push his half-volley wide at the near post.

Howells came close to nodding home from the resulting corner but did not have to wait long for his opportunity as the Hatters were awarded a second spot kick.

Sam Muggleton allowed Shaun Whalley to get the wrong side of him and brought down the winger; Howells slotting the penalty down the middle to double Luton’s advantage.

Barnet were unable to find a route back into the game, and as the game petered out, Allen introduced academy prospects Alfie Cain, Joe Gater and brothers Harry and Jack Taylor.

Barnet: Stack (Cowler 69); Yiadom (Sheriff HT), Stephens (N’Gala HT), Saville (Gater 82), Johnson (Muggleton HT) (H.Taylor 82); Vilhete (Cook 69) (T), Weston (Abdulla 69) (T), Villa (Cain 76); Marsh-Brown (c) (Sykes 69), Akinde (Lowe 52) & Gambin (J.Taylor 82).

Luton Town: Tyler; Connolly, Lacey, McNulty (Wilkinson HT), Griffiths; Rooney, MPanzu, Lawless, Drury; Wall & Cullen.

Luton Town from 69th minute: Tyler; Connolly, Wilkinson, Franks, Griffiths; Whalley, Stevenson, Robinson, Drury, Howells; Lafayette.

Subs not used: Justham (GK),

* T=Trialist

Attendance: 806

Referee: Mr A Woolmer

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