Shaun Batt picked the perfect moment to open his Barnet account as his late winner sealed a dramatic 3-2 turnaround against Hartlepool at The Hive.

A game where the visitors seemed in complete control was turned on its head when Liam Donnelly was given a straight red for a foul on John Akinde in the Pools' box, and the in-form striker slotted home his fifth goal in four games from the penalty spot.

Nathan Thomas' freak opener and a second from Padraig Amond had put the County Durham side in the driving seat before that - but after Akinde pulled one back, Luke Gambin levelled with 15 minutes to go.

Moments later, three points which seemed destined for the North East were instead staying in North London through Batt's strike, before the Bees held on through 10 minutes of added times.

Head coach Martin Allen refreshed his line-up from the team that had drawn 2-2 with Newport County in midweek.

Teenagers Harry Taylor and Nana Kyei started in midfield, with both Tom Champion and Ben Tomlinson featuring from the off and Bira Dembele playing at left-back in the absence of the injured Elliott Johnson.

A delightful move in the first minute involving Kyei and Tomlinson ended with an Akinde header forcing the visitors’ keeper Trevor Carson to make a fine reflex save.

Gambin had an opportunity to give the Bees the lead when his deft control took him past a defender, only for the winger to hurry his shot when he could have advanced goalwards.

Hartlepool were growing in confidence and their possession-based gameplan was rewarded in the 31st minute when Mauro Vilhete unwittingly deflected a fierce cross by the dangerous Nathan Thomas into the Barnet net.

Moments later Josh Vickers then needed to be alert to keep out a stinging effort from Lewis Alessandra.

Skipper Michael Nelson went close with a header in the opening minute of the second half but it would be the visitors who doubled their lead in the 53rd minute.

Thomas was again involved when his tempting cross from the left wing enabled Padraig Amond to steer the ball home from close range.

The Bees immediately responded with Vilhete hitting the side netting but at this stage Hartlepool supporters were justifiably contemplating travelling north with three points to show for their efforts.

Boss Allen then introduced Batt and Akpa Akpro from the bench as Barnet went on the offensive in search of a way back into the match.

A glimmer of hope came in the 68th minute when Akinde kept his cool from 12 yards. Barnet’s top scorer had won a penalty when his progress towards goal was clumsily halted by Liam Donnelly. 

Barnet narrowed the deficit and Hartlepool were reduced to 10 men by Donnelly’s red card.

Barnet then had a slice of good fortune in the 76th minute when Gambin’s cross from the left was over-hit but sneaked in at the far post with keeper Carson stranded.

Events were now moving in Barnet’s favour and The Hive crowd had to wait just three minutes before the Bees took the lead for the first time.

Curtis Weston, himself a first-half substitution, clipped a ball into the centre and with the Hartlepool defence missing, Batt materialised to score from tap home.

This was the cue for celebration on a grand scale from Batt individually, his joyous team mates and the Barnet faithful. Unbelievably, Barnet had got themselves into a winning position.

Batt’s goal was met with such jubilation because not only did it give Barnet the lead, it was his first after more than 20 substitute appearances from the whole-hearted striker.

Hartlepool were now demoralised - but with the need to play an additional 10 minutes due to a lengthy injury to Thomas, and a delay in locating a stretcher, the Barnet rear-guard were now tasked with defending a lead.

Vickers was then once called upon to keep the ball out in the dying minutes as the Bees held on for a dramatic victory; credit must go to Barnet for rescuing a situation that looked all but hopeless.

Since their collapse at home to Exeter City a fortnight ago Barnet supporters have seen a transformation in their club’s fortunes with the Bees accumulating seven points out of a possible nine. From flirting with the relegation zone to mid-table has taken just three matches. 

Barnet: Vickers, Vilhete, N'Gala, Nelson, Dembele, Kyei (Weston 38), Taylor (Akpa Akpro 61), Champion, Gambin, Tomlinson (Batt 55), Akinde.

Not used: Stephens, Sesay, Muggleton, Nicholls.