Saturday May 5 2012. The final day of the 2011/2012 League Two season.
Barnet were in a position which had become all too familiar. They had to win to ensure Football League survival.
The Bees were 22nd in the table, two points above Hereford United who had a tough home match against Torquay United - who knew a win could secure their promotion.
Barnet were at Burton Albion. Martin Allen (pictured below) was in charge and, on paper, the Bees had easier game.
Allen named Barnet top scorer Izale McLeod on the substitute’s bench. Loanees Ben May and Scott McGleish led the attack..
Midfielder Mark Byrne started at right back while centre-half Michael Hector was deployed in the middle of midfield.
They were big gambles.
Six minutes after kick-off they looked wise decisions as the Bees went ahead.
Barnet captain Mark Hughes ducked into a header, suffered a boot in the face but won a free-kick on the edge of the box.
Byrne stepped up and his low strike clipped the outside of the wall, wrong-footed goalkeeper Ross Atkins, and rolled into the corner.
The travelling away support were ecstatic. At this point Barnet were safe. But it soon changed.
Burton controlled the rest of the half and levelled through Jacques Maghoma.
With news that Hereford had taken a 3-0 lead against Torquay United – thus putting Barnet in the relegation zone – the atmosphere was tense.
Just before half time, Burton were awarded a penalty. It proved a crucial point in the contest.
Calvin Zola took the spot kick but his effort cleared the crossbar.
The two sides went in level at the interval and Allen decided to replace McGleish with McLeod at the break.
Barnet knew they needed to score and several opportunities came and went for the visitors.
Nervousness had set in among the travelling support but on the hour that changed. Barnet went back ahead.
A cross into the box was only half cleared by the Brewers. The ball dropped to Hughes on the edge of the box and he steered his half volley into the corner.
Once again, Barnet were safe if they could hang on.
In their game, Torquay had pulled two goals back. News of a third spread around the Barnet faithful, however, it was false and Hereford still led.
Barnet continued to push forward but couldn’t find a third goal. McLeod guilty of missing a chance from six-yards which would’ve sealed victory.
In the closing minutes, the Bees defence dropped deeper and deeper. Burton looked threatening. Three minutes were added for stoppages.
The Brewers earned a corner. The away supporters were silent as the ball was crossed in. Patrick Ada rose highest and directed his header towards the top corner.
It seemed to be heading in but Dean Brill somehow managed to push the ball wide of the post. Barnet’s supporters celebrated as if they’d scored.
The following corner was cleared and the referee blew the final whistle to send the Bees supporters into delirium.
After full time, Allen said: “I’m pleased for all the players, all the staff and the atmosphere created by the supporters was pretty awesome. It’s a special afternoon.”