Barnet maintained their position at the top of the Vanarama Conference table on Saturday with an emphatic 5-0 victory over Altrincham at The Hive.
A first-half hat-trick from John Akinde helped to seal a vital three points after Luisma Villa had opened the scoring, before new loanee Sam Hoskins opened his account with the club just one minute after coming on for his debut.
Martin Allen made two changes to the side that lost to Wrexham in midweek, bringing Sam Muggleton and Adam Mekki into the side in place of Sam Togwell and Lee Cook.
Muggleton was deployed at left-back with Elliott Johnson moving up into a central midfield position. Jon Nurse continued to partner John Akinde up front in the absence of Charlie MacDonald, with new loanee Sam Hoskins, who arrived at the club from Yeovil Town yesterday afternoon, coming straight into the squad on the bench.
Once again Barnet started the game at high intensity, and soon took the lead on 13 minutes after a scrappy opening period. A long angled ball by Muggleton was well won in the air by Nurse, and as the ball bounced back across the face of the area, Luisma Villa was on hand to dispatch a crisp half volley beyond the dive of the goalkeeper and into the bottom corner.
Having already seen Luisma come close to sliding home an Akinde cross and David Stephens nearly head home a set piece from six yards out, the home side would go on to double their lead from the penalty spot shortly before the half-hour mark.
Akinde raced onto a through ball by Elliott Johnson and was clattered by the onrushing David Parton. After a lengthy stoppage for the goalkeeper, who received a yellow card for the incident, to receive treatment, Akinde nonchalantly stroked the ball into the bottom right-hand corner to make it 2-0. Parton would eventually be forced off with a head injury as Stuart Coburn came on between the posts to replace him.
Barnet stretched their lead further with an identical goal on 44 minutes, as Adam Mekki was brought down from behind after playing a neat-one two with Akinde. The Bees’ number nine then stepped up to send the goalkeeper the wrong way and put the ball in exactly the same spot for 3-0.
An excellent first half then got even better in stoppage time, as Akinde wrapped up his hat-trick by finishing high into the roof of the net after being slid in by Jon Nurse for his second assist of the afternoon.
Martin Allen made one change at half-time, bringing on Sam Togwell in place of Bondz N’Gala who had been booked in the first half, before handing a debut to Sam Hoskins in place of hat-trick hero Akinde who received a rapturous ovation after being withdrawn on 48 minutes.
The loanee would make an immediate impact, scoring with his first touch of the ball within a minute of coming on to put the Bees 5-0 up, swivelling and finishing a Muggleton cross that arrived at his feet through a host of bodies.
The hosts were inches away from having a third penalty of the afternoon on 55 minutes when Altrincham captain Peter Cavanagh brought Andy Yiadom down on the right-hand side of the area. From the resulting free kick, Luisma nearly caught everybody off guard with an audacious attempt that clipped the post as everybody waited for a cross into the box.
It was very nearly six on 69 minutes, as Hoskins showed fantastic energy to race clear down the right and fire an effort across goal which Coburn could only parry, but with Luke Gambin following up the substitute saw his rebound well saved from a tight angle.
A lapse in concentration nearly let the visitors in on 78 minutes after Andy Yiadom played a blind pass back inside that sent Damian Reeves through one-on-one, but having had virtually nothing to do all afternoon Graham Stack showed excellent reactions to race out and save.
Hoskins nearly capped an excellent debut with a second goal on 82 minutes after racing through onto a well-weighted pass but his effort was straight at the goalkeeper.
The resounding win means that Barnet maintain their one point lead at the top of the table, with a goal difference of 22 after just eleven games.
Next up for the Bees is a trip to Forest Green Rovers on Saturday.
Barnet FC: Graham Stack; Sam Muggleton, Bondz N’Gala (Sam Togwell 46), David Stephens, Andy Yiadom; Adam Mekki (Luke Gambin 64), Elliott Johnson, Curtis Weston (c), Luisma Villa; John Akinde(Sam Hoskins 48), Jon Nurse.
Altrincham FC: David Parton (Stuart Coburn 31); Adam Griffin, Thomas Marshall, Gianluca Havern, Scott Leather, Nicky Clee (Shaun Densmore 46);, Jake Moult, Peter Cavanagh (c), James Lawrie (Steven Gillespie 64); Kyle Perry, Damian Reeves.