Jake Hyde had given the Bees an early lead but Barnet eventually went down 2-1 to a Fleetwood Town side that now find themselves in the automatic promotion places.
Barnet’s cause was not helped when Graham Stack was sent-off when conceding a penalty in the 26th minute, but they then had held firm until 12 minutes from time when the home side scored the winner.
Head Coach Mark Robson had kept faith with those that had started the Rotherham United game the week before; but Mark Byrne and Andy Yiadom were not fit enough to make the substitutes’ bench with new signing Ishmael Kamara also being named as one of the subs.
In very blustery conditions at Highbury the Bees took the lead in the 5th minute when John Oster’s short corner was sent goalwards by Ricky Holmes with Hyde then capitalising on confusion in the defence to steer the ball home from close range.
Fleetwood’s danger man was Jordan Brown on the left-wing. He repeatedly delivered good crosses from the left-flank and was not afraid to run directly at defenders.
However the Bees were growing into their lead and for the most part looked comfortable with again David Stephens and Krystian Pearce looking a sound combination in the heart of the defence.
Then came the penalty. With a hint of off-side about it David Ball went to the ground when challenged by Stack. Insult was added to the injury of the spot-kick decision when Stack was shown a red card for what in effect was merely a goalkeeper engaged in goalkeeping; this was as far from a “professional foul” that is possible to get.
Sam Cowler was called from the bench with Ahmed Abdullah being the player to miss out. Ball duly converted and equalised and clearly this was the moment when the tide of the game turned. Holmes dropped slightly deeper with Hyde now ploughing a more lone furrow upfront.
It was now going to be tough for the Bees to hold on for a point; whereas before the sending-off Barnet had genuinely got themselves into a position where three points were within reach.
Fleetwood used their man advance well and were more attacking than in the second half than they had been in the first, with the right-back Shaun Beeley benefitting from the extra space and he was proving a threat down the right flank.
Yet the Bees were weathering this storm and as the half progressed looked the more likely of the two teams to push for a winner. Cowley was performing to a high standard and produced one magnificent save to keep Barnet’s hopes alive but on 78 minutes he was unable to prevent a header from Tom Barkhuizen finding the back of the net. This was crushing blow and all of a sudden it became apparent that this was an 11 v 10 match whereas for so long Barnet had worked so hard to defy the odds. Steven Gillespie did hit the woodwork late on with a fierce drive which would have given the scoreline an even more cruel look about it.
At the whistle Barnet left to good applause from a large travelling contingent of supporters.
Ishmael Kamara who had come on as a late substitute when the Bees were behind and had looked dangerous needed to be substituted after only a few minutes of being on the pitch with a dislocated shoulder. He was taken the Blackpool’s Victoria Hospital and after a number of x-rays it was discovered that since there was no bone fracture another attempt to put the shoulder back would be attempted. This proved successful and the player was discharged from the hospital at around 11 o’clock that night.It remains highly unlikely that he will be available for Tuesday’s match against Exeter City although a fuller analysis will be made on Monday to determine the path ahead.