4:56pm Saturday 1st March 2008
By Paul Wreyford
FULL TIME: Barnet 4 Shrewsbury Town 1 . . .
Barnet came from a goal behind at Underhill this afternoon to end a run of five straight defeats.
Two quality goals from Albert Adomah and one from Cliff Akurang gave the Bees a 3-1 half-time lead.
Akurang then completed his brace after the interval, as the hosts, who had scored just one in their previous five games, went goal crazy.
While Adomah and Akurang will win the plaudits, this was a fine all-round team performance, with every Bee playing their part in a very encouraging display.
Barnet made two changes from the side that lost to MK Dons last Saturday. Sagi Burton came in for Max Porter, while Neal Bishop, having completed his one-match suspension, was a straight swap for Michael Leary, who will miss three games following his red card against the league leaders.
Shrewsbury's James Constable registered the first real effort of the game, but his shot from the edge of the box was a couple of feet wide.
At the other end, Josh Wright saw a volley roll wide, with none of his team-mates able to get a touch to redirect the ball goalwards.
Barnet keeper Rob Beckwith then had to get down low to turn away a Ben Davies effort.
However, the opening goal was not long in coming. Just ten minutes had gone when Guy Madjo saw his shot come off Ismail Yakubu and loop over Beckwith to give the visitors the lead.
But the Bees took just five minutes to reply. Jason Puncheon crossed from the left and Akurang controlled before finding the corner from close in, the striker taking advantage of Kelvin Langmead's stumble as he tried to clear the ball. It was his first goal for his new club.
And Adomah almost put Barnet ahead just a few minutes later, the winger chesting down a loose ball and volleying just wide.
Both sides were looking to go forward at every opportunity, making for an open and entertaining first half.
Akurang almost added his second goal of the game midway through the half, his curling effort from the edge of the area turned over by keeper Glynn Garner.
The Bees were now in control and gained their reward on 32 minutes. Adomah burst down the right and coolly planted a low shot into the far corner past the outstretched hand of Garner. It was the sheer accuracy of the strike that beat the keeper, Adomah choosing precision over pace.
Adam Birchall might have hit a third on 37 minutes, but failed to keep his drive down after finding space on the edge of the area.
On the stroke of half-time, Adomah was at it again. Birchall slipped the ball into his feet and the winger produced some silky skills to beat his marker before lashing the ball into the roof of the net from eight yards. It was a quality goal and completed an amazing first-half turnaround.
Barnet started the second half just as positively. Birchall was put through by Akurang, but the angle was too tight and Garner blocked his shot.
Number four came on 53 minutes. Adomah put over a deep cross, which Puncheon did well to pull back. Birchall then teed it up for Akurang and he fired home his second of the game from just outside the six-yard box.
On the hour, Birchall was put through by a strong Yakubu header, but his shot was straight at the keeper.
The Shrewsbury heads had long dropped, as Barnet continued to press. Puncheon teed up Akurang, but his header was down into the ground when he should have completed his hat-trick.
A minute later, Akurang was again denied, his close-range shot blocked on the line after Birchall's initial effort was spilled by Garner.
The Bees were now having fun and looked capable of scoring at will.
But there were no further goals, the Shrews also denied a consolation in the closing stages, Beckwith diving to save a Davies free-kick a couple of minutes from time.
BARNET (4-4-2): Beckwith; Devera, Yakubu, Burton, Gillet; Adomah, Bishop, Wright (Porter 87), Puncheon; Birchall (Thomas 82), Akurang (Grazioli 82). Subs not used: Harrison, Nicolau.
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