A second half hat-trick from Lee Cook helps Barnet secure an emphatic 4-0 win over Dartford to move up to second in the table.Barnet ensured a perfect Bank Holiday weekend on Monday by beating Dartford 4-0 at The Hive to wrap up their second win in three days.
A second-half hat-trick from substitute Lee Cook wrapped up the points after John Akinde had given the Bees the lead shortly before the interval, as Barnet secured their fourth win after just five games of the season.
Martin Allen sprung a couple of surprises in his starting line-up, making three changes to the side that won at Nuneaton on Saturday.
Jack Saville came into the back four in place of Elliott Johnson with Luisma Villa starting his first game of the season, while winger Adam Mekki was also handed his Bees’ debut on the left-side of midfield.
Torrential rainfall throughout the day made for some fairly difficult playing conditions, as both sides struggled to get a foothold during the game’s early stages thanks to the slippery surface.
It was Barnet who carved out the first real opportunity of the game on eight minutes, when a slip by Rory McAuley allowed John Akinde a route on goal. He was forced wide but still managed to clip a cross back for Charlie MacDonald, but his shot on the turn was blocked on the line before the Darts were able to clear following a goalmouth scramble.
Luisma was particularly lively in the Bees’ midfield, going close on 28 minutes with a half-volley from the edge of the area that was deflected narrowly wide before sliding the ball through for John Akinde two minutes later, who produced a superb turn to beat his man and send a shot across goal just beyond the far post.
However, Akinde would not be denied on 41 minutes, putting the Bees 1-0 up as he lashed a Luisma corner from the left into the net from close range after it was deflected into his path.
Martin Allen made one change at half-time, introducing Lee Cook in place of Adam Mekki, and the substitute made an immediate impact by doubling the Bees’ advantage on 48 minutes. Akinde was involved once again, collecting the ball wide on the left before picking out Cook in the box, as the experienced winger took a touch before placing an excellent finish into the bottom right-hand corner.
Dartford’s attacking play throughout the afternoon was mainly limited to set pieces, and they nearly pulled a goal back on 51 minutes through a corner when Darts captain Elliot Bradbrook saw a point-blank header saved by Graham Stack, although the goalkeeper did not appear to know too much about it.
The rain abated as the second half wore on allowing for a little more football to be played, and a lovely move helped the Bees to take a 3-0 shortly before the hour mark. Luisma was again involved, spraying the ball out wide to Cook on the left who fired a shot into the same corner to grab his second goal having only been on the pitch for 14 minutes.
Having played two games in three days and with the win seemingly secured, Martin Allen continued to make changes throughout the second half, replacing captain Charlie MacDonald with Keanu Marsh-Brown immediately after the goal before bringing Luke Gambin on for Luisma on 68 minutes.
Barnet refused to sit back however, and it was Gambin who helped the Bees to take a 4-0 lead by racing into the area before being sandwiched off the ball to win a penalty. Akinde initially picked up the ball but in a sporting gesture soon gave it to Cook to complete his hat-trick, as the winger made no mistake from the spot.
The goal added a little gloss to the scoreline as Barnet wrapped up a convincing victory to move up to second in the Vanarama Conference table.
Barnet: Graham Stack; Jack Saville, Bondz N’Gala, David Stephens, Andy Yiadom; Adam Mekki (Lee Cook 45), Sam Togwell, Curtis Weston, Luisma Villa (Luke Gambin 68); John Akinde, Charlie MacDonald (c) (Keanu Marsh-Brown 59).
Dartford: Jason Brown; Adam Green, Rory McAuley, Mat Mitchell-King, Nathan Collier; Luke Daley, Elliot Bradbrook (c), Max Cornhill (Peter Sweeney 56), Lee Noble (Ryan Hayes 77), Andy Pugh (Harry Crawford 68); Tom Bradbrook.