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Barnet 2 Bradford City 2
4:57pm Saturday 19th September 2009 in Sport
Battling Barnet twice came from behind to salvage a point at Underhill this afternoon.
The Bees were a little below par, but they raised their game sufficiently in the second half to make it eight games unbeaten.
Indeed, it was a different home side after the interval, Bradford having given them the runaround in the opening 45 minutes.
Goals from John O'Flynn and Mark Hughes pegged back the visitors, one of the pre-season favourites for the title.
The hosts finished the far stronger, though they were unable to find a winner and the Bantams might also have nicked the points themselves, keeper Jake Cole pulling off a fine injury-time block to deny Scott Neilson.
However, that would have been hard on the Bees, who had fought back well to get back in the game.
Barnet made two changes from the side that drew at Macclesfield last week.
Winger Albert Adomah, who broke his nose at Moss Rose, started on the bench, with Albert Jarrett replacing him in the starting line-up.
The only other change was the return of Jake Hyde, in for Paul Furlong, who was suspended after picking up five bookings.
Bradford had the first chance, James O'Brien being freed down the left-hand side, but his weak centre hit a home defender. He might have perhaps had a go himself.
Scott Neilson then fired just wide under pressure, his shot taking a slight deflection as he bore down on goal.
From the corner, James Hanson got up highest, but his glancing header flashed across the six-yard box and wide.
It was a positive start from the visitors, the Bees struggling to get into their stride.
And it was no surprise when City took the lead on 14 minutes, Hanson arriving at the far post to turn home a Michael Flynn centre, the latter doing well to get to the byline.
Midway through the half, the Barnet fans were incensed that O'Brien only received a yellow card for a late tackle on Ahmed Deen.
The Bees finally created a chance when Jake Hyde saw a looping header go just over from a Jarrett centre, but Bradford were still well in control.
The Bradford fans were themselves angered by a late challenge from Clovis Kamdjo on Simon Ramsden, the former this time receiving a yellow card.
Kamdjo then denied Flynn with a great block after Gareth Evans had teed up the midfielder.
Barnet continued to labour, City winning most of the 50-50 balls, the half-time whistle coming as almost a relief to the home supporters.
Bradford started the second half just as well as the first, refusing to just sit back and hold on to what they had got.
However, it was the Bees who struck ten minutes in. Sub Kenny Gillet floated over a cross deep into the City box, and John O'Flynn stole in to loop a header over stranded keeper Simon Eastwood.
It gave the hosts the lift they needed. Within a couple of minutes, Ismail Yakubu was just wide with a hooked effort from eight yards after City had only half-cleared a corner.
Evans might have restored the lead, but his back-heel following a Neilson shot was straight at keeper Jake Cole.
It was now anybody's game, Barnet having at last woke up and looking a lot more dangerous.
However, it was the visitors who scored the next goal with 20 minutes to go, captain Zesh Rehman driving home a cracker from the edge of the area after a James O'Brien corner was not dealt with by the home defence. The defender's shot flew into the top corner, no-one in the crowded penalty area able to get a touch to it.
With ten minutes to go, Rehman then made a brilliant stop, clearing a Jake Hyde volley off the line with his head.
But, within a minute, the Bees were level, Mark Hughes rising to head home an O'Flynn cross.
It was a fine finish from the midfielder, as he was a good 12 yards from goal, Hughes getting enough power on the ball to give Eastwood little chance.
Hughes had another chance after sub Adomah this time set him up, but, with just the keeper to beat from a central position, he scuffed his shot on this occasion.
BARNET (4-4-2): Cole; O'Neill (Devera 70), Yakubu, Kamdjo, Deen (Gillet 52); Jarrett, Hughes, M Hyde, Bolasie (Adomah 78); J Hyde, O'Flynn. Subs not used: Carpenter, Tabiri, Deverdics, Charles.