Barnet let a two-goal lead slip at Blackpool as Kyle Vassell's 91st-minute equaliser earned the Tangerines a 2-2 draw at Bloomfield Road last night.

John Akinde's 100th Barnet league goal and a first for January signing Charlie Clough had threatened to take Barnet back within four points of the top seven.

But after Nathan Delfouneso halved the deficit on the hour mark after hammering home a loose ball, the hosts pressed for an equaliser, and found it in second-half stoppage time.

Vassell's close-range finish leaves Nugent still searching for his first win as Barnet boss, three games into his stint as first-team coach.

The Bees had been forced to shuffle their rearguard, with left-back Elliott Johnson missing with injury.

Bira Dembele, more often a centre-back, was given his first start under the new manager and he impressed with a determined and resolute display.

Barnet’s Mauro Vilhete and Blackpool’s Brad Potts both had opportunities in the opening minutes but with the visitors dominating the first half, it was no surprise when they went ahead in the 13th minute.

John Akinde was on hand to prod the ball home following a powerful drive from 20 yards by Curtis Weston which rebounded into play after hitting an upright, for a 21st goal of the season. The Bees then kept up the pressure on the Seasiders and looked to extend their lead.

After half an hour, Ricardo Santos was unable to continue and was replaced by Harry Taylor. This prompted Dembele to partner Michael Nelson at the heart of the Barnet defence, with the teenage substitute assuming the unfamiliar role of left-back.

In the 40th minute, Akinde, with a trademark cut-in from the left, carved a promising position for himself only to miscue his effort marginally wide.

As half-time approached Blackpool’s Jordan Flores saw his free-kick pushed wide for a corner by Harry Burgoyne when his shot looked destined for the top-right corner.

Barnet extended their lead four minutes after the break when Clough, who had gone close to opening his account in the home game against Cambridge United at the weekend, powerfully headed home a well-taken corner by the skilful Ruben Bover.

For much of the second period Barnet were largely untroubled by Blackpool and looked set to record their eighth league win of the campaign.

A left-footed effort from Vilhete that went inches wide would have given Barnet an unassailable lead minutes later, but after an hour of play the home side were given a life-line when Delfouneso’s shot found the bottom right corner.

Blackpool then enjoyed a spell of pressure, but rarely looked capable of penetrating a Barnet defence which for the most part had looked sound.

The home crowd were then boosted when the fourth official announced that there would be five minutes of time to be added on - and within seconds, Blackpool were level.

Substitute Vassell, in a goalmouth scramble, capitalised on a spot of good fortune by stabbing the ball over the line after the Bees had failed to clear Clark Robertson's header, which had struck a post.

The Barnet players were visibly demoralised by the late equaliser and there will be disappointment - and possibly an inquest - into a game which should have seen the Bees leave Lancashire with all three points.

Barnet: Burgoyne, Clough, Nelson, Santos (H. Taylor 32), Dembele, Vilhete, Bover (Sweeney 79), Champion, Weston (Akinola 68), Campbell-Ryce, Akinde.

Not used: Watson, Coulson, Amaluzor, McKenzie-Lyle.