Barnet fell to their first defeat, going down 2-1 to Lincoln City, despite a spirited second-half showing

Picture: Action Images

Picture: Action Images

First published in Sport by

Barnet slipped to their first defeat of the new Conference season, going down 2-1 to Lincoln City, despite a much-improved second-half showing.

Jordan Burrow put the visitors ahead after 15 minutes, nodding home at the far post. Hamza Bencherif then doubled the lead seven minutes later, heading in another cross from the opposite flank.

Keanu Marsh-Brown pulled one back for the Bees ten minutes after the re-start but despite wave after wave of Barnet pressure, Martin Allen’s side could not force an equaliser, with Imps goalkeeper Nick Townsend pivotal.

There was one change to the Barnet starting XI, with Marsh-Brown coming into the side in place of Mauro Vilhete, who dropped down to the bench.

Allen also made two tweaks to his bench, with Jamal Lowe and Luke Gambin stepping up to the matchday squad in place of Luisma Villa and Jon Nurse.

Lincoln City boss Gary Simpson dropped winger Marcus Marshall to the bench, with Arnaud Mendy starting in midfield as the Imps started in a 4-5-1 system.

The two sides struggled to create any real opportunities early on, with Marsh-Brown and Burrow both comfortably missing the target with early efforts.

In the 15th minute, though, the Bees fell behind for the first time this season when Burrow netted his second in as many games.

Left-back Sean Newton got down the flank and whipped an inch-perfect cross to the back post where the former Stevenage striker headed beyond Graham Stack.

The Imps carved out another opening almost immediately; again the ball coming in from the left before falling to skipper Alan Power, who steered wide as he tried to place past Stack.

Simpson’s side were having plenty of joy down the flanks – the left in particular – continuing to whip crosses into the box with mixed results.

Seven minutes after scoring the opener, the visitors doubled their lead in almost identical fashion.

Jon Nolan made enough space down the right-hand side to cross and at the back stick, Bencherif flicked a header into the bottom corner of Stack’s net from six yards.

Lincoln could have snatched a third when the lively Ben Tomlinson wriggled down the left before cutting back low for Bencherif to shoot straight at Stack.

After a slow start, the game burst into life shortly before the break, with Barnet manufacturing their two best chances of the half.

First, Charlie MacDonald battled diligently down the left to cut back for John Akinde, who missed the ball completely, only for it to roll out to Lee Cook, who brought a fine save from Imps goalkeeper Townsend.

From the resulting corner, the ball was worked back out to Marsh-Brown, whose cross fell to Curtis Weston on the edge, the midfielder firing in a half-volley which Akinde could only poke into Townsend’s grasp.

The visitors then charged up the other end and put the ball in the net, with left-back Newton the provider once more, only for referee Mr Hicks to rule the goal out for offside.

Seconds before the break, MacDonald flicked a long ball on for Akinde to chase, the powerful forward driving wide before cutting the ball back across the face of goal where the cross was blocked with a Barnet player lurking.

Allen made two changes at half-time, introducing Vilhete and Sam Muggleton in place of Elliot Johnson and Sam Togwell.

The intent of the change was quickly evident; Muggleton launching a trademark throw in towards Bondz N’Gala.

Lincoln nearly grabbed a third in fortuitous circumstances; Tomlinson racing onto a long ball which Stack dropped into his path, the forward overrunning the loose ball out of play.

Following the introduction of Vilhete, Yiadom was pushed on into a more advanced role and relishing the attacking licence he had been afford, shot wide via a deflection.

From the resulting corner, Akinde brought the best out of Birmingham City loanee Townsend, who pushed a firmly struck half-volley over from close range.

The Bees had begun the second half the better of the two sides and kept the pressure up, with Muggleton flinging another throw on into the area, only for Akinde to see his diving header blocked.

Ten minutes into the second half, the pressure told and Marsh-Brown pulled one back for the Bees.

Quick-thinking from Muggleton released MacDonald down the left and the Bees skipper scampered away before firing a low centre across the face of goal for Marsh-Brown to fire past the excellent Townsend.

In the 66th minute Lincoln came close to restoring their two-goal advantage when Nat Brown flicked a Newton free-kick off the face of the Barnet crossbar.

With the game wide open, Tomlinson twice came agonizingly close for the Imps, who were threatening on the break time and time again.

The winger first cut in from the left before drilling narrowly wide of the far post before, a minute later, travelling in from the right to lash over Stack’s crossbar on his left foot.

With time running out and Barnet pressing for an equaliser, N’Gala was thrown forward but the Bees’ best chance came via the finesse of MacDonald, who swivelled and shot lot into the palms of Townsend.

Chances came and went in injury-time, with the impressive Gambin darting down the left to cross for Akinde, who took an age before shooting at Townsend.

Marsh-Brown slammed his follow-up into a Lincoln defender before Vilhete drilled against a sea of bodies as Barnet slipped to their first defeat of the season.

Barnet: Stack; Yiadom, Stephens, N'Gala, Johnson (Vilhete HT); Marsh-Brown, Togwell (Muggleton HT), Weston, Cook (Gambin 61); Akinde, MacDonald (c).

Subs: Saville, Lowe.

Lincoln City: Townsend; Caprice, Brown, Diagne, Newton; Mendy; Bencherif, Nolan; Power (Marshall 86); Burrow, Tomlinson.

Subs: Farman (GK), Kabba, Ledsham, Robinson.

Referee: Mr Craig Hicks.

Attendance: 1,529.

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