Barnet 0-0 Port Vale
2398 (696 away)
9 February 2013
Sponsor's Man of the Match Award - John Oster
A dominant performance from Barnet ended in a 0-0 draw against Npower League Two leaders Port Vale.
The Bees controlled the game from start to finish but were constantly thwarted by the impressive Chris Neal.
With eight minutes remaining David Stephens thought he had snatched the winner but the referee’s assistant ruled out his headed goal.
The Bees started brightly with Barry Fuller and Mark Byrne both testing the Vale defence down the right.
However their first chance came from the left when Elliot Johnson bombed down the channel before crossing to Jon Nurse who was beaten to it by Neal.
After five minutes Edgar Davids showed his class by playing a sumptuous through ball to Johnson who was unable to direct his cross.
Vale failed to clear and Nurse regained possession but was scythed down by Jennison Myrie-Williams 30-yards from goal; unfortunately the free-kick came to nothing.
Three minutes later it was Vale on the front foot as Tom Pope, League Two’s top scorer, drove at the Barnet defence only to have his shot blocked.
The Bees continued to dominate the early stages of the match with Andy Yiadom particularly impressive down the right.
Their next opportunity to open the scoring came after ten minutes when Stephens saw his floated header cleared off the line from John Oster’s corner.
Yiadom was next to test the Vale defence as he was allowed time and space on the edge of the box but despite beating Neal his shot also beat the post.
After 17 minutes Jake Hyde, returning from injury, latched onto Oster’s deceptive corner but fired his shot inches wide.
The away side rarely threatened but after 22 minutes they could have stolen the lead when Ashley Vincent found Daniel Jones whose cross was gathered by Graham Stack.
The keeper quickly sent the Bees on their way and Nurse sent a ferocious shot on goal that was gathered by Neal at the second attempt.
With 13 minutes of the half remaining the away side had their best opportunity so far when Myrie-Williams bundled his way into the box and shot inches wide.
The last five minutes of the half saw Vale rarely advance past the halfway line and somehow deny the Bees a deserved lead.
On 40 minutes Yiadom drove into the box and shot across goal where Hyde diverted the ball on target but into the hands of Neal.
Yiadom seemed determined to get on the scoresheet and will be wondering how he did not after being denied twice in one minute by Purse and then Neal.
Barnet began where they picked off in the second-half and the table toppers were instantly penned back into their own half.
With 49 minutes played Johnson waltzed through the Vale half unchallenged before picking out Oster who saw his shot tipped just over the bar.
The Bees continued to press in search of an opener but the Vale defence held firm and Neal continued to equal everything thrown as him between the sticks.
18 minutes from time Vale captain Doug Loft surged into the box but was denied by Stack who made a superb save down to his right.
The ball was quickly fired back into the box but a combination of Barnet players blocked Calvin Andrew’s header away for a corner from four-yards.
With 15 minutes left Vale should have taken the lead, Myrie-Williams found Pope unmarked, six-yards from goal at the back post but it bounced off the post and away to safety.
After 82 minutes the Bees had the ball in the net as David Stephens headed home but Oster’s corner was judged to have exited the field of play.
Both sides pushed in search of a winner but it was not to be, there is no doubt that it is a point gained but the away side will be by far the happier.
Barnet Football Club: Stack, Fuller, Byrne, Nurse, Yiadom, Hyde, Johnson, Stephens, Oster, Iro, Davids (c).
Subs: Brown, Kamdjo, Lee, Cowler, Weston, Sekajja, Crawford.
Port Vale: Neal, Purse, Loft, Myrie-Williams, Vincent, Pope, Burge, Duffy, Chilvers, Hughes, Jones.
Subs: Johnson, Yatesm Shuker, Andrew, Morsy, Williamson, Birchall.