Darren Currie said Shaq Coulthirst’s sending off “changed the game” as Gateshead came from behind to defeat Barnet 2-1 on Saturday.

The Bees went ahead in the first half through Ephron Mason-Clarke’s goal, but after Coulthirst was sent off for two bookable offences in first-half stoppage time, Greg Olley and Tom White struck in the second period to turn the game around.

Although Barnet have plenty of games in hand to try and reverse their form, the lack of momentum they are gaining from these losses could damage their chances.

After the match, Currie said: “I can’t remember why he [Coulthirst] got his first yellow. With the second one they’ve said he’s dived – Shaq suggested that he slipped as he was trying to turn inside.

“To my knowledge the fourth official made the call. I haven’t seen them participate that much in games before and then obviously it’s about protecting something that we had and I thought we were very dominant in the first half, played some good stuff.

“The sending off obviously now looks like it changed the game because we’ve come away with a 2-1 defeat.”

Barnet went into the break a goal to the good despite Coulthirst’s red card, but Currie says everything they spoke about at the break failed to happen in the second half.

He said: “We spoke about protecting the lead and hitting them on the counter-attack and all of that went out of the window within two or three minutes. All the talk, all the agreements that we made at half-time about how we were going to deal with them in the second half all goes out the window when they get back in the game.”

Currie praised some individuals for their performances despite the loss, but also seemed concerned by the lack of fight shown by some of the squad.

He said: “Elliott [Johnson] will always give his all, he loves the club. He’s been one of my best pros and best performers and I’ve got loads of respect for Elliott.

“I could do with a few more like him, I’ve got to be honest. There weren’t enough people prepared to protect even a point. They scored and it was too easy for them to get a second and we’ve got to do better.”

There’s little respite for the Bees as they aim to catch up on their fixtures following extended cup runs, and Currie has plenty of personnel decisions to make ahead of their home game against FC Halifax Town on Tuesday night.

He said: “It’s all part of the job. I’ve had to take [Andre] Boucaud off just to protect him for Tuesday night. I had a little roll of the dice by playing Dan Sweeney up there and trying to go a bit more direct, which didn’t quite work out.

“I’ll take my positives from the first half, I thought we were very good then but I’m obviously disappointed with how the game has panned out. On another day, if we frustrate them longer than for the two or three minutes at the start of the second half, we might grow into it but it wasn’t to be.”