Six-time winners of the FA Cup Blackburn Rovers knocked Barnet out at the first round 3-1 on the back of an impressive second-half display after they’d trailed at the interval.

In-form forward Simeon Akinola had given the Bees a deserved lead just after the half-hour mark, but Barnet crumbled under intense pressure in the second period as the home side ensured their passage into the second round.

Ryan Watson, at right-back, and Alex Nicholls, on the right side of midfield, kept their places from the side that was soundly beaten at Accrington Stanley the week before.

The Bees suffered a blow in the warm-up when skipper Jamal Campbell-Ryce was declared unable to start the game with a calf injury, so Wesley Fonguck was promoted to the starting line-up.

Barnet immediately needed to readjust their game plan, with Fonguck reinstated in his usual role of protecting the back four, while Mauro Vilhete pushed further forward to augment the attack in the role that had been assigned to Campbell-Ryce.

Both sides were slow to make an impact but it was Rovers who had the first attempt of note when Bradley Dack’s left-footed shot was deflected after 10 minutes and soon after Danny Graham was denied by an excellent save by Barnet keeper Craig Ross.

The visitors then started to enjoy a period of dominance and began to create situations that put the home goal under threat.

From a cross, Nicholls found himself at the back post but his headed effort did not overly trouble Blackburn’s debutant keeper Jayson Leutwiler.

Moments later a shot by Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro was blocked by Rekeem Harper, but the Bees would not be denied for long.

The deadlock was broken in the 31st minute when Jack Taylor caught Dack napping, surged forward deep into Blackburn territory and with an astute left-footed square pass set up Akinola, who had the simple task of passing the ball into the net.

The home side were clearly rattled and despite rallying as the half came to a close, Vilhete spurned an opportunity to put the Bees two up when he dragged his shot wide.

Rovers boss Tony Mowbray made changes to his side during half-time, notably bringing on striker Joe Nuttal who had marked his debut in midweek with a goal against Fleetwood Town in 2-2 draw which took Blackburn into the play-off positions in League One.

Once the second-half got underway Blackburn, now playing with a more traditional back four, were a different proposition, with captain Charlie Mulgrew and Graham both going close to finding an equaliser.

Barnet’s rearguard was eventually breached after nine minutes of the second-half when Nuttal struck from close range after Dack had played him, with Rovers carving open the Barnet defence down the left-hand flank.

Things were now looking ominous for the Bees as the hosts sensed that the game was theirs for the taking and in the 70th minute Graham gave them the lead.

Dack was again the provider and despite the acute angle, Graham’s powerful shot could not be kept out despite the best efforts of stopper Ross.

Following a misjudgement by David Tutonda, Barnet’s fate was sealed in the 81st minute when Marcus Antonsson was given time and space to fire home from the edge of the box with a low shot that found the corner with unerring accuracy.

The dispiriting statistic is that Barnet need to go back to early September for their last victory, 12 games ago.

Barnet: Ross, Watson, Clough, Santos, Tutonda, J.Taylor, Fonguck (Aghadiuno 82), Vilhete, Akinola (Bover 71), Nicholls, Akpa Akpro. Subs not used: Nelson, H.Taylor, Blackman, McKenzie-Lyle, Aghadiuno.