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Bees boss Mark Robson still looking for first win as Barnet throw away two-goal lead to draw 2-2 with Southend
Mark Robson's search for his first win of the season continues as Barnet threw away a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 against Southend.
Ricky Holmes' wonder-strike against the club that released him as a school boy and Jake Hyde's shot from close range put the Bees two ahead.
But a penalty from Southend's Freddy Eastwood and a late equaliser from Kevan Hurst meant both sides had to settle for a point despite having chances to win late on.
Robson rang the changes from the side that lost to Exeter. Graham Stack was back in goal after returning from suspension while Andy Yiadom, Mark Byrne and Jamal Lowe were all handed chances to impress.
Southend started in commanding fashion forcing a series of corners and putting Stack and the Barnet defence under early pressure.
The hosts though came closest when Gavin Tomlin took advantage of Jordan Brown’s slip to unleash an effort at goal but Stack was equal to it and palmed the ball away.
After an uncomfortable opening spell Barnet began to settle down, with the best of their play coming down the left through Holmes and Hyde.
Just after the half hour mark the match suddenly sprung into life. Southend’s Tomlin teed up Hurst whose left foot drive from 25 yards crashed the underside of the bar and bounced out.
With the Shrimpers fans’ hands still on their heads Barnet broke, and when a cross-field ball found its way through to Hyde inside the box the forward should have shot earlier but, opting to to take another touch on to his right foot, his shot was blocked.
A minute later Southend struck the woodwork again. Tomlin picked up the ball on the left hand side of the box, cut inside and his deflected shot looped up and over Stack and hit the top of the bar.
Buoyed by their efforts, Southend finished the stronger before the break with Hurst again coming close with a long-range free kick which dipped just over.
Barnet rallied at the start of the second half and looked the brighter side. Byrne and Kamdjo saw more of the ball and Yiadom was coming inside to good effect as Southend struggled to recover their first half momentum.
In the 54th minute Barnet took the lead in some style. Holmes picked up the ball on the left-hand side just inside the Southend half, drifted past three defenders before drilling the ball with his right foot into the top corner from 30 yards.
The hosts thought they had an equaliser just after the hour mark but Ryan Cresswell's header was ruled out after the linesman adjudged Hurst's corner to have gone out of play first.
And minutes later Barnet doubled their lead. Holmes drove down the left side of the box and as the Southend defence backed off the winger shot low across goal for Jake Hyde to divert into the net for his third goal in three games.
But their two-goal advantage was short-lived because in the 67th minute Bees captain Barry Fuller handled the ball in the area and Eastwood stepped up before confidently drilling home from the spot to make it 2-1.
With the goal back, Southend loooked like a side who believed they could win let alone muster a draw.
But having absorbed a few minutes of pressure Barnet almost put the game out of sight when Lowe seized a loose ball outside the area before shooting low and hard past Smith's right hand but agonisingly on to the post.
Southend continued to pile forward and in the 84th minute they got the equaliser as Tomlin's shot rebounded out to Hurst inside the box who volleyed down into the ground and into the bottom right-hand corner to set up a thrilling finish.
Of the two teams, Southend looked the more likely to grab a winner and two minutes from time they very nearly did so.
Eastwood's free-kick from just outside the area was fumbled by Stack and as the ball fell to Luke Prosser in the box his shot looked destined for the net but Bees captain Fuller scrambled it off the line.
The chance of the match though fell in the 92nd minute to Barnet's Lowe. Jon Nurse was put through down the right and with Southend's defence caught up field he picked out Lowe who, unmarked, completely mishit his shot from six yards out and it bobbled wide.
As the final whistle blew Robson must have breathed a sigh of relief that his side had at least gone home with a point but the squandered two-goal lead, and Lowe's miss at the death, must have left the Bees boss wondering what might have been.
Up next for Barnet is a trip to Leyton Orient in the Football League Trophy on Tuesday.
Barnet:- Graham Stack, Barry Fuller (c), Jordan Brown, Krystian Pearce, Dave Stephens, Andy Yiadom, Ricky Holmes, Clovis Kamdjo, Mark Byrne, Jake Hyde (Nurse, 88), Jamal Lowe
Subs:- Sam Cowler, Jack Saville, Jon Nurse, Jon Fortune, Anthony Edgar, Curtis Weston, John Oster
Southend:- Paul Smith, Sean Clohessy, Anthony Straker (Martin, 72), Ryan Cresswell, Freddy Eastwood, Michael Timlin, Kevan Hurst, Luke Prosser, Britt Assombalonga, Gavin Tomlin, Chris Barker (c)
Subs:- Daniel Bentley, Graham Coughlan, David Martin, Jack Paxman, Elliot Benyon, Alex Woodyard, Seedy Njie
Referee: Brendan Malone