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A late goal from Mark Byrne secured Barnet a 2-1 win against Forest Green Rovers
Barnet are not giving up on a place in the Skrill Premier play-offs. The Bees are three points off the top five after they completed a 2-1 win at home to fellow promotion hopefuls Forest Green Rovers.
Barnet went in front after 18 minutes. Keanu Marsh-Brown delivered a corner and Valentin Gjokaj headed the ball powerfully into the net.
Forest Green equalised in the second period through James Norwood but Barnet secured victory with ten minutes remaining.
Marsh-Brown was again the architect as he crossed and Mark Byrne volleyed home the winner.
Martin Allen’s side knew a victory was required to keep their chances of reaching the play-offs alive.
There were two changes to the Barnet side. Graham Stack returned from suspension in place of Nick Jupp while Elliot Johnson came in for the suspended Curtis Weston.
Barnet were undoubtedly the better side in the opening period and they created numerous chances. Jake Hyde shot wide from an acute angle for the hosts and the striker then had a half volley tipped over the crossbar by goalkeeper Sam Russell.
From the resultant corner, the Bees went in front. Marsh-Brown whipped his cross into the box with pace and Gjokaj was left unmarked and headed home.
Barnet controlled the next 20 minutes. Hyde held the ball up excellently and Jon Nurse created problems with several intelligent runs.
Marsh Brown almost doubled the Bees advantage as, after good work from Hyde, his low shot was tipped wide by Russell.
The winger again came close. Good pressing upfield allowed Barnet to win possession in the Rovers half. Nurse played Marsh-Brown through on goal but he directed his left-footed effort past the post.
Forest Green had offered little going forward in the opening 45 minutes but Lee Hughes forced Graham Stack into a fine reaction save late into the half.
Green captain Luke Oliver then headed wide but the Bees deserved their lead at the interval.
The second period started at a slow tempo. The break halted Barnet’s momentum but they should have doubled their lead 12 minutes after the restart.
Another fine Marsh-Brown corner was met by Mauro Vilhete but he directed his header wide from ten yards.
Forest Green offered more of a threat in the second half. Jared Hodgkiss forced Stack to tip over an over-hit cross but, from their next attack, the visitors went ahead.
Yan Klukowski crossed into the Barnet penalty area and Norwood’s pace allowed him to get behind the Bees defence and tap home.
The visitors’ confidence grew after drawing level. Al Bangura shot wide and Bradley Jordan also missed the target with a shot from distance.
Allen responded with two changes. Sam Muggleton and Ahmed Abdulla replaced Johnson and Nurse.
With games running out, the Bees needed to win. They pushed forward and applied pressure on the Forest Green backline.
Muggleton used his long throw to good effect. He launched the ball into the area, it dropped to Marsh-Brown who flashed a shot across the box. Hyde almost connected but the chance went begging.
Barnet continued to attack and, with ten minutes remaining, they retook the lead.
Another tireless run from Marsh-Brown ended with him crossing into the box. Byrne broke into the penalty area and volleyed the ball past Russell.
It was a goal the Bees deserved but they came under pressure in the closing stages. The hosts’ defence coped well but they were breached once.
Klukowski broke through and rounded Stack. However, the efforts of Vilhete and Gjokaj meant the ball was hacked clear off the line.
Barnet saw out the closing moments of the contest relatively comfortably. They’ve moved up to eighth in the Skrill Premier table and travel to Southport on Tuesday evening.
Barnet: Stack; Yiadom, Stephens, Gjokaj, Johnson (Muggleton 68); Marsh-Brown, Byrne, Harper, Vilhete; Nurse (Abdulla 68), Hyde (Saville 86).
Barnet substitutes: Dymond, Crawford.
Forest Green Rovers: Russell; Turley (Barry 7), Hodgkiss (Wright 90), Oliver, Oshodi; Bangura (Rodgers 82), Green, Klukowski; Jordan, Norwood, Hughes.
Forest Green Rovers substitutes:, Taylor, White.
Attendance: 1,466 (75)
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