Second half fightback sends Barnet eight points clear.Barnet went eight points clear at the top of the Vanarama Conference on Saturday, coming from behind to beat Macclesfield Town 3-1 at The Hive.
Despite an impressive first-half performance the Bees found themselves behind at half-time through a Adriano Moke goal shortly before the break. However, two strikes in quick succession by Andy Yiadom and John Akinde helped to turn the tide before Curtis Weston wrapped up a vital three points in stoppage time.
Ahead of the game, Martin Allen made two changes to the side that lost at Bristol Rovers in midweek. Graham Stack returned in goal to make his one hundredth league appearance for the Bees, whilst Jack Saville partnered Bondz N’Gala in the heart of the Bees’ defence as David Stephens dropped to the bench having picked up a slight knock.
Macclesfield nearly took the lead in the first minute of a scrappy opening period after a slip at the back allowed Waide Fairhurst to advance on goal, but fortunately for the Bees the striker snatched at his shot as the ball rolled comfortably wide.
Barnet did begin to find their feet and soon carved out a string of good chances in quick succession, with Charlie MacDonald seeing a shot on the turn saved by Rhys Taylor after collecting a knock down from John Akinde.
The big striker was again the architect for Barnet’s best chance of the first half four minutes later, getting up well to nod the ball into the path of Luisma, who was unable to keep his shot on the bounce down as the ball sailed over.
Macclesfield nearly stunned the Bees on 25 minutes when Scott Barrow – scorer of Macclesfield’s spectacular opener at Moss Rose back in October – saw another long-range strike deflect off Bondz N’Gala shin and against the post.
The visitors did find the net three minutes before the break, when winger Adriano Moke shot through a crowd of bodies and into the bottom corner to give the Silkmen the lead against the run of play.
Despite the setback, Barnet came out with a renewed sense of vigour for the second half and their pressure eventually told on 56 minutes as they struck back to equalise.
Charlie MacDonald was the architect with a teasing ball across the face of goal which eventually found Andy Yiadom at the back post to turn the ball in for his third goal of the season.
The Bees were on a role, and scored a second just four minutes later to turn the game on its head. Again it came from a move down the left-hand side, with Luisma providing the telling cross this time for John Akinde to nod home from inside the six yard box and give Barnet the lead.
Martin Allen made changes throughout the second half, bringing David Hunt on in place of Luisma shortly after the goal before introducing Bernard Mensah and David Stephens for Charlie MacDonald and Lee Cook during the final ten minutes.
However, far from hanging on the Bees put the game to bed with a third goal during three minutes of stoppage time, as an exquisite pass by David Hunt sent Curtis Weston racing through one-on-one before calmly dinking the ball over the goalkeeper and into the net to wrap up a vital three points.
The result means that Barnet are now eight points clear of nearest rivals Grimsby Town and Bristol Rovers, with a visit to Torquay United to follow next Saturday.
Barnet FC: Graham Stack; Andy Yiadom, Bondz N’Gala, Jack Saville, Elliott Johnson; Luisma Villa (David Hunt 62), Curtis Weston, Sam Togwell, Lee Cook (David Stephens 86); John Akinde, Charlie MacDonald (c) (Bernard Mensah 80).
Macclesfield Town: Rhys Taylor; Liam Hogan, George Pilkington, Alex Grant, Scott Barrow; Chris Holroyd (Arthur Gnahoua 65), Paul Turnbull (c) (William Bailey 90), Daniel Whitaker, Adriano Moke; Waide Fairhurst (Denny Johnstone 65), Matthew Barnes-Homer.