Shaun Batt’s first Barnet goal capped a stunning comeback which saw the Bees overturn a 2-0 deficit to beat ten-man Hartlepool United 3-2 at The Hive in EFL League Two.
The game turned on its head in the 69th minute when Pools defender Liam Donnelly – with his side leading 2-0 thanks to efforts from Nathan Thomas and Padraig Amond – saw red for bringing down John Akinde in the penalty area.
Akinde duly stuck the penalty away – his 12th goal of the season already – and the comeback was on.
Luke Gambin then got the Bees back on level terms in the 77th minute before Batt, a second half substitute, bagged a winner in the 80th minute to make it seven points from nine in a week.
Martin Allen made five changes from the side which drew 2-2 at Newport County on Tuesday night. Nana Kyei was handed his first EFL League Two start of the season – and his first since the final-day win at Crawley Town last season.
Meanwhile, Ben Tomlinson made his first league start since the 2-0 win over Northampton Town last August. The attacker did start in the original fixture at Newport in September, but the game was abandoned at half time.
Bira Dembele, Harry Taylor and Luke Gambin also came in with Sam Muggleton, Alie Sesay, Alex Nicholls, Curtis Weston and Gavin Hoyte – through injury – making way.
Tomlinson nearly marked his first league start of the season with an assist in the opening minutes, scampering down the right and crossing for Akinde who met his cross but saw his header tipped to safety.
The Bees had another good chance in the 18th minute, Gambin racing onto a long ball forward and cutting in from the right only to blast his effort over the bar.
However, it was Pools who went ahead in the 31st minute. Thomas, who scored against the Bees at The Hive last season, collected a short corner from the right and curled beyond Josh Vickers.
Five minutes later the visitors nearly added a second but Vickers did well to parry away Lewis Alessandra’s strike.
Bees head coach Allen made one change before half time, replacing Kyei with Weston before the two sides went in at the break.
Michael Nelson, against his former club, almost reduced the arrears when he met a Gambin free-kick from the left but nodded just wide of the far post.
But, eight minutes into the second half, Hartlepool doubled their lead. A dangerous ball across the face of goal found Amond who, from close range, nodded past Vickers at the back post.
The Bees introduced Batt and Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro in search of a route back into the game and the former was to have a big say in the outcome.
The comeback started in the 69th minute when Akinde was brought down from behind by Donnelly. The Bees’ number nine took the spot kick himself and beat Trevor Carson with ease.
Eight minutes later, and following a lengthy delay for Pools’ Thomas to receive treatment, Barnet found an equaliser.
Gambin whipped a free-kick in from the left and somehow the winger’s delivery found a way beyond Carson to level for Barnet.
The Bees were now on top and a dramatic 11 minutes was brought to a stunning conclusion when Batt bagged his first goal in black and amber in the 80th minute.
Another substitute, Weston, crossed from the left and his cross was finished off in the middle by Batt.
However, owing to Thomas’ injury earlier in the half there were ten minutes added on for the Bees to defend their lead.
Pools, predictably, threw everything at it and it took a fingertip stop from Vickers to deny Jake Carroll with a rasping drive to the near post.
But Barnet weathered the storm to secure a rousing comeback win. Next up for the Bees is a trip to Shrewsbury Town in the FA Cup 1st round next weekend.
Barnet: Vickers; Vilhete, N’Gala, Nelson (c), Dembele; Kyei (Weston 36), H. Taylor (Akpa Akpro 61), Champion, Gambin; Tomlinson (Batt 55), Akinde.
Substitutes: Stephens (GK), Muggleton, Nicholls.
Hartlepool United: Carson; Donnelly, Nsiala, Harrison, Carroll; Alessandra, Hawkins (Deverdics 86), Featherstone (c) Laurent, Thomas (Richards 76); Amond.
Substitutes: Barrett (GK), Paynter, Woods, Orrell, Martin.
Referee: Nicholas Kinseley.