Match Report: Barnet 2 Oxford 2
The Bees took a point with this 2-2 draw against Oxford United in a match that provided action and talking points from the kick-off to the final whistle.
The Bees made just one change to their playing personnel, the suspended Edgar Davids making way for Andy Yiadom. Jake Hyde however was partnered up front by Jon Nurse and the midfield diamond featured Clovis Kamdjo as the holding player, Ricky Holmes the furthest player forward with Yiadom on the left and Mark Byrne operating on the right. This was a much more offensive looking line-up.
Hyde gave the Bees a lead in the 5th minute when he astutely headed the ball up and over Ryan Clarke in the Oxford goal from a Byrne corner. But within a minute the U’s were level.
James Constable created a chance in the six-yard box for Sean Rigg to finish comfortably and from that moment the visitors took the game to the Bees and looked now to forge a lead of their own.
The Barnet defence was working overtime to keep the U’s at bay, but with Holmes and Hyde looking particularly alert it was not one-way traffic.
As the first half came to an end both Hyde and Nurse went close as the quality of Barnet’s crosses into the box was causing consternation for the Oxford rearguard.
Within a minute of the second-half starting Oxford took the lead. A well taken free-kick by Peter Leven was powerfully headed home by Andrew Whing who had got himself from his right-back berth unnoticed up into an advanced position.
A miss-hit cross from the left by Tony Capaldi hit the woodwork as Oxford set about extending their lead, but the Bees defence was looking a more cohesive unit than in the first period and always looked dangerous going forward.
On 70 minutes a trademark Holmes mazy run and dribble down the left finished with a low delivery into the centre where Hyde got himself ahead of his defender to steer the ball home; a very well worked team goal and a poacher’s finish.
Both sides now equally looked capable of going on to win the match. Oxford had a chance when the referee gave the visitors an indirect free-kick just feet from the Barnet goal when he deemed a sliced clearance from Krystian Pearce to have been a deliberate back-pass. A nervous moment.
Barnet could have won the game late on with powerful shots from Holmes and substitute Olly Lee but an even later Constable header that was superbly saved by Stack and hit both uprights before being hacked clear indicated just how evenly poised this match had been throughout.
The Bees are at Cheltenham Town this Saturday.