A late rally by Barnet was not enough to prevent Notts County regaining top spot in League Two as they ran out 2-1 winners.

The Bees made it hard for themselves and only began to look dangerous once they were two goals behind. A Simeon Akinola strike in the 81st minute gave the visitors a glimmer of hope but County’s two headed goals, one in each half, would ultimately prove decisive.

The Bees are in the middle of an injury crisis. They are three experienced strikers light and are missing regular first-teamers in defence and midfield; the latest victim being the versatile Mauro Vilhete who missed out through illness.

Against Coventry at The Hive the previous week, Barnet’s depleted resources were used to good effect to keep the Sky Blues at bay in a scoreless draw. But at Meadow Lane against high-flying County this was always going to be a tough ask.

Barnet’s starting line-up was unchanged apart from fit-again midfielder Jamal Campbell-Ryce replacing Vilhete.

The hosts started brightly and nearly took the lead in the seventh minute when Richard Duffy’s close-range shot was blocked as County mounted attack upon attack.

Poor marking from a set-play allowed the Magpies to take the lead in the 16th minute. Rob Milssom’s corner was headed goalwards by Shola Ameobi with the ball finding the corner of the net. With the Barnet rear-guard in disarray, Shaun Brisley was on hand to ensure the ball went over the line.

Barnet rarely created an opening in the first half although good deliveries into dangerous areas from Ruben Bover and Andre Blackman did cause some concern for County.

Campbell-Ryce drove at the home defence early in the second half with his deflected effort then being acrobatically pushed over the bar by the County keeper Adam Collin.

Ameobi, a thorn in Barnet’s side for much of the match, then wasted a good opportunity when his headed effort lacked power. But within six minutes of restart the Bees would be two goals down.

Barnet had men back in numbers but striker Ryan Yates got between two static defenders and was allowed to glance Matt Tootle’s cross into the net.

Barnet responded by making a double substitution, with Michael Nelson and Akinola coming on just after the hour mark.

Akinola soon tested County’s substitute keeper Ross Fitzsimons with his curling strike from distance being palmed away to safety.

Fitzsimons then did well to keep out a well-struck effort by Jean Louis Akpa Akpro.

Barnet were now taking the game to County and had the hosts on the rack, although it was clear that the home side, having a two-goal advantage, were in no mood to take unnecessary risks and were content to get men behind the ball.

The Bees did made a breakthrough with nine minutes of normal time remaining when Fitzsimons could not keep out Akinola’s precise finish with the ball being steered into the bottom right corner.

The Bees were now forcing the issue but a volley from Jon Forte very nearly put the issue beyond doubt. But in the dying moments of the seven minutes of time added on, Ricardo Santos should really have slotted the ball home but he blasted high and wide from ten yards.

Barnet: Ross, H.Taylor (Shomotun 83), Clough, Santos, Tutonda, J.Taylor, Fonguck, Bover (Nelson 62), Campbell-Ryce, Blackman (Akinola 63), Akpa Akpro. Subs not used: Kyei, Shomotun, Mason-Clark, McKenzie-Lyle, Mars.