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Macclesfield Town 2-0 Barnet

18 March 2014

Barnet's play-off hopes were left hanging in the balance following 2-0 defeat to Macclesfield Town.

Barnet’s promotion push continued to stutter as they succumbed to a fourth successive Skrill Premier defeat at the hands of Macclesfield Town who sealed a 2-0 win at Moss Rose.

Once again the Bees created chances, but what is perhaps ever more concerning than their astonishing loss of form is their inability to find the net having scored just once in their last four outings.

Mauro Vilhete was denied in the first-half by a fine block with Keanu Marsh-Brown having a free-kick pushed onto the crossbar at the start of the second. But two poor pieces of goalkeeping from Nick Jupp allowed the Silkmen to secure their first three points of the month and leave Barnet’s play-off hopes hanging in the balance. 

Uli Landvreugd and Dick Schreuder made changes from Saturday’s defeat to Kidderminster Harriers with the Bees’ new loan duo being thrust immediately into action. Connor Dymond and Alex Peterson only joined the club hours before kick-off but they both started alongside Valentin Gjokaj who extended his loan at the club and Nick Jupp who was restored to the starting XI in place of the suspended Graham Stack.

The Bees’ first sight at goal came after just two minutes when on loan Doncaster forward Peterson had a shot blocked with Marsh-Brown’s follow up leaving a little to be desired after eventually exiting play for a throw in. 

Six minutes later the away side marched forward once more with the tenacious Vilhete charging into the Macclesfield half only to be brought to an abrupt halt.  Cadogan was unable to trouble the home side from the resulting free-kick but the Bees continued to apply heavy pressure forcing two corners soon after.

Macclesfield’s first venture into opposition territory came with 15 minutes played but after a superb first touch winger Jack Mackreth shot straight down the throat of Nick Jupp.

Two minutes later the Bees were gifted possession midway through the Silkmen’s half but after Cadogan burst forward and found Harry Crawford who shot high and wide. 

Barnet’s best opportunity of the half came with 20 minutes on the clock and Cadogan was once again the architect as he continued to torment the Macclesfield rearguard. The former Aldershot midfielder swung a hanging cross to the back post where Valentin Gjokaj headed the ball across goal into the path of Vilhete whose shot was blocked behind for a corner kick. 

The Bees continued to threaten via set pieces but just like during Saturday’s defeat to Kidderminster they lacked that clinical and deciding finishing touch as the half ended Macclesfield Town 0 Barnet 0.

After the interval the Bees came out with more purpose and more swagger and with three minutes of the second period played they were inches away from taking the lead when Marsh-Brown’s free-kick was tipped onto the crossbar by Rhys Taylor. David Stephens was first to react as the ball drifted back into the danger zone but the defender rose a fraction too early and was unable to direct his header on target and into the empty net.

The Silkmen rarely troubled Jupp with the majority of their efforts coming from range as Stephens and Gjokaj continued their impressive partnership to keep them at bay. 

Likewise the Bees struggled for penetration but a bursting run from Marsh-Brown tore the home side’s defence to pieces creating the space for substitute Ahmed Abdulla whose fierce shot was palmed to safety by Taylor. 

After a tight 80 minutes the deadlock was finally broken but once again the Bees were punished for failing to take their chances as Jupp failed to hold onto Turnbull’s low free-kick allowing substitute Chris Holroyd to bundle the ball into the net from close range.

Seven minutes later Jupp was once again left searching for a place to hide after his poor clearance fell straight at the feet of Whitaker who sent an audacious 45-yard lob over the goalkeeper’s head to make it 2-0.

Next up for Barnet is a return to the Hive on Saturday to face Hereford United where they will be hoping to avoid a fifth consecutive defeat in order to keep their fading play-off hopes alive.

Attendance: 1,153 

Barnet FC: Jupp; Yiadom, Stephens, Gjokaj, Vilhete; Weston, Dymond (Abdulla 63); Cadogan (Gambin 78), Crawford, Marsh-Brown (Mengerink 88); Peterson. 
Subs: Johnson, Nurse.

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