Barnet Football Club



Match report: Barnet 3 – 3 Kidderminster

A second-half fight back by Kidderminster Harriers saw Barnet lose a three-goal lead to take a point at home against the Harriers.

Luisma Villa, Lee Cook and John Akinde had put the Bees in a position of control at the break, but two late goals from Nathan Blissett helped the visitors to rescue an unlikely draw.

Ahead of the game, Martin Allen made three changes to the side that were narrowly edged out by Macclesfield in midweek. David Stephens returned to the heart of the Bees’ defence whilst Lee Cook and Luisma

Villa were deployed on the wings in place of Jon Nurse and Mauro Vilhete.

There was also a return to the matchday squad for Keanu Marsh-Brown for the first time since mid-September as the winger continued his recovery from injury.

Barnet enjoyed the majority of possession during the opening stages but were lacking a final pass during a scrappy opening half hour, with their only real effort at goal coming with a Sam Hoskins volley on 19 minutes that Danny Lewis beat away.

It was always going to take a moment of quality to break the deadlock, and it arrived on 32 minutes from a likely source. The moment Andy Yiadom was tripped 30 yards from goal, dead centre, Luisma looked interested and the Spaniard made no mistake as he sent the free-kick up and over the wall and nestling into the bottom right-hand corner of the net to give the Bees the lead.

He nearly provided an assist for the second moments later, clipping a cross onto the forehead of John Akinde but the striker’s glancing header bounced narrowly wide.

The Bees would go on to double their lead just two minutes later however, and it came from another set-piece. Martin Allen instructed Luisma to leave the free-kick out by the right-hand touchline to Lee Cook, and the winger made it count as his curling delivery evaded everybody and bounced into the top corner of the net with the goalkeeper stranded.

The visitors did have a chance to pull a goal back on 38 minutes as Craig Reid met a corner from the right unchallenged but the striker spurned Kidderminster’s only real chance of the first period as he planted his header wide.

The Harriers were made to pay two minutes before half-time, as John Akinde made it three with an opportunistic strike. With both captain Josh Gowling and goalkeeper Danny Lewis leaving it to each other to deal with a bouncing ball forward, the striker stole in between them to control the ball and slot into an empty net. It was Akinde’s ninth of the campaign and capped off a whirlwind fifteen minutes before the break.

Kidderminster made a double change at half-time, bringing on Michael Gash up front for Reid and replacing Gowling with Jamie Grimes at the back.

It was the Bees who came out of the traps the quickest however, with a Bondz N’Gala diving header being scrambled clear just moments after the break.

Barnet had another chance to stretch their lead on 52 minutes when another Lee Cook cross from the left found Sam Hoskins unmarked in the area but the striker was unable to get a clean contact on the ball with the goal at his mercy.

Martin Allen made his first change shortly before the hour mark, bringing on youngster Alfie Pavey for John Akinde who received a rapturous reception as he made way for the Millwall loanee having notched his sixth goal in six games.

Just two minutes later however the visitors pulled a goal back against the run of play. Callum Gittings cross from the left was only diverted into the path of Gash by the head of David Stephens, and despite clearly controlling with his arm the striker was able to volley home.

Barnet responded by bringing on Keanu Marsh-Brown for another goal scorer in Luisma Villa as the winger made his first appearance since the defeat to Wrexham last month.

The momentum of the game had been changed by the goal, and the visitors were the next to go close as substitute Ahmed Obeng raced clear and dinked over the onrushing Stack with the ball bouncing off the near post and behind.

The did reduce the deficit on 79 minutes, as Nathan Blissett headed home a Nicholson corner from the right to make it 3-2.

Just two minutes later Kidderminster scored a carbon copy, with Blissett scoring an identical goal to complete an unlikely comeback and level the scores with seven minutes remaining.

Both teams had chances to win it in the dying stages, with a Gash header forcing Stack into a spectacular save and a Keanu Marsh-Brown shot across goal fizzing narrowly wide.

However, neither side could take the three points from a remarkable game that will live long in the memory.

Despite the dropped points, other results mean that Barnet stay three clear at the top ahead of their trip to title rivals Gateshead next weekend.

Barnet FC: Graham Stack; Andy Yiadom, David Stephens, Bondz N’Gala, Elliott Johnson; Luisma Villa (Keanu Marsh-Brown 63), Sam Togwell, Curtis Weston (c), Lee Cook; John Akinde (Alfie Pavey 56), Sam Hoskins.

Kidderminster Harriers: Danny Lewis; Jared Hodgkiss, Josh Gowling (c) (Jamie Grimes 46), Chey Dunkley, Kevin Nicholson; Callum Gittings, Jack Byrne, Kyle Storer, Marvin Johnson (Ahmed Obeng 60); Craig Reid (Michael Gash 46), Nathan Blissett.

Attendance: 1,689 (132 Kidderminster).