Barnet Football Club



Match report: Barnet 2 – 1 Woking

Barnet maintained their seven-point lead at the top of the Vanarama Conference table on Saturday with a 2-1 win over Woking at The Hive.

A first-half penalty for John Akinde – for which Cardinals defender Joe McNerney was also shown a red card – combined with a Joey Jones own goal during the second half were enough to secure the win, although a late goal by substitute Yemi Odubade did set up a tense finish.

Ahead of the game, Martin Allen named one change to the side that beat Southport last time out, with Elliott Johnson returning to left-back having fully recovered from a hamstring injury.

Meanwhile, there was a first involvement for Conor Clifford with the midfielder who joined the Bees on loan from Southend on deadline day lining up on the bench for the first time.

Both sides struggled to assert themselves on the game early on, with a goalmouth scramble from an Akinde header at a corner and a shot by Scott Rendell that flew comfortably wide the only two real chances in a cagey opening.

However, the deadlock was soon broken on 26 minutes when Barnet won a penalty following a sliding challenge by Joe McNerney on John Akinde as the striker raced through on goal, for which the centre-half also received a red card on account of being the last man.

Despite the best efforts of the visiting supporters to put him off, the number nine quickly picked himself up to slot the spot-kick past former Bee Jack Cole and give his side the lead with his 26th of season.

The sending off forced Woking to reshuffle, as they quickly replaced striker Ross Lafayette with winger Kevin Betsy as Chris Arthur pushed back into defence.

The home side then made an early change of their own five minutes before the break, as Martin Allen replaced Luisma Villa – who had picked up a yellow card moments earlier for a late tackle on Josh Payne – with Conor Clifford as the loanee came on for his Barnet debut.

Barnet went on to double their lead five minutes after half-time, although they could not claim much of a part in the goal after a Joey Jones back-pass eluded the goalkeeper before creeping in off the inside of the post.

With the added breathing space of a two-goal cushion, Barnet looked to make their man advantage count by keeping the ball and wearing down the opposition.

They replaced Charlie MacDonald with another striker in Michael Gash shortly after the hour mark, and the Bees’ new acquisition soon went close to opening his Barnet account after racing onto an Akinde flick-on but was denied as Cole came out well to gather.

Barnet were well on top however and went close three times in quick succession as Clifford bent a shot narrowly wide before Weston and Cook saw efforts from distance palmed away.

However, they were made to sweat for the win when substitute Yemi Odubade pulled a goal back with ten minutes remaining after racing through and lashing the ball into the net to set up a nervy finish.

Woking piled forward in search of an equaliser as Barnet threw on David Stephens to provide an extra body in defence during four minutes of added time which saw Josh Payne fire a volley from within the box narrowly over the bar.

However, the Bees hung on to claim a valuable three points that maintains their cushion at the top, with a trip to Wrexham to follow next weekend.

Barnet FC: Graham Stack; Andy Yiadom, Bondz N’Gala, Jack Saville, Elliott Johnson; Luisma Villa (Conor Clifford 40), Sam Togwell, Curtis Weston, Lee Cook (David Stephens 89); John Akinde, Charlie MacDonald (c) (Michael Gash 66).

Woking FC: Jake Cole; Adam Newton, Joey Jones, Joe McNerney, Aswad Thomas; Charles Banya (Yemi Odubade 62), Mark Ricketts (c) (John Goddard 62), Josh Payne, Charles Arthur; Scott Rendell, Ross Lafayette (Kevin Betsy 34).

Attendance: 2,036.