A well-executed free-kick from Mauro Vilhete looked to have secured all three points for Barnet but with just a minute of play remaining Conor Chaplin scored a spectacular equaliser for Portsmouth to deny Kevin Nugent a winning start at the Hive.

But after his first match in charge, the new boss of the Bees could look back on a game in which his charges showed attacking intent and a willingness to work hard for each other.

Nugent had witnessed the 1-0 victory at Morecambe in midweek but in this, his first team selection as head coach, he made just one change to the Barnet team with Simeon Akinola returning from a three-match suspension in place of Jamal Campbell-Ryce.

The large travelling support made for an excellent atmosphere with this fixture resulting in Barnet’s best attendance of the season at the Hive by some distance.

Bees central midfielder Ruben Bover was prominent in the first-half with his intelligent distribution of the ball. His talents were complimented by the pragmatic Tom Champion whose tackles, interceptions and blocks effectively disrupted Pompey’s rhythm.

The selection of Akinola to partner John Akinde up front was proving a wise one. In a tireless display he constantly harried the Portsmouth defence, never letting them settle and giving them an uncomfortable afternoon.

The visitors had a good opportunity to take the lead in the 24th minute as Gary Roberts found some space on the left and from his quality delivery into the middle, Eoin Doyle’s header was wide of the mark.

Moments later a move down the right for Barnet involving Champion and Vilhete led to Curtis Weston forcing a fine save from David Forde, who was happy to concede a corner.

Charlie Clough, usually a centre-back but playing at right-back, then found himself on the edge of the penalty area but his effort flew over the crossbar and into the massed ranks of Portsmouth fans behind the goal.

Christian Burgess, for the visitors, and then Akinde both nearly broke the deadlock as half-time approached. A Bover free-kick whistled past the upright in the 65th minute but as the second half progressed the visitors upped the tempo and pushed the Bees back on the defensive. But Portsmouth found Barnet resolute opponents and with their high work rate and team spirit the Bees were able to keep Pompey at bay.

A powerful surge down the left by Akinde then brought the Barnet fans to their feet, the striker’s endeavour relieved the pressure and took the ball deep into the opponent’s territory.

A game that had always been interesting burst into life in the closing stages.

The versatile Vilhete had signed a new contract in midweek and with just eight minutes of normal time remaining he found the perfect way to celebrate when he managed to get a free-kick up and over the defensive wall and with enough dip to outfox Forde in the Pompey goal.

But the Bees were to be denied a victory against high-flying Pompey when with a solitary minute left on the clock, Chaplin picked up the ball in midfield before releasing a shot that arrowed into the top right hand corner from all of 25 yards.

Both sets of defences then ensured that neither side would find a winning goal with a draw being a fair return for each side’s efforts.

Barnet: Vickers, Clough, Nelson, Santos, Johnson, Vilhete, Bover (Sweeney 69), Champion, Weston, Akinola (Amaluzor 75), Akinde. Subs not used: Dembele, H Taylor, Coulson, McKenzie-Lyle, Tutonda.