Late Akinde winner sends the Bees nine clear at the top.Barnet moved nine points clear at the top of the Vanarama Conference on Saturday with a last-gasp win over Welling United at Park View Road.
John Akinde scored in each half, including a dramatic late winner in stoppage time to secure a vital three points for the Bees, after they had been pegged back shortly before half-time.
Martin Allen made just one change to the side that secured an FA Cup first round tie against Wycombe Wanderers in midweek, recalling Lee Cook in place of Luke Gambin as the Bees shuffled their shape to the 4-2-3-1 formation utilised so successfully at Gateshead a fortnight ago.
Elliott Johnson pushed forward into a holding midfield role with Mauro Vilhete once again deputising at left-back as Cook, Curtis Weston and Luisma Villa formed an attacking three behind lone striker John Akinde.
The other big team news was the long-awaited return to the matchday squad of Charlie MacDonald following seven weeks out with injury. He was also joined on the bench by new arrival David Hunt who was involved for the first time following his arrival on loan from Oxford United on Friday evening.
Barnet started brightly in the wintery sunshine at Park View Road, with Weston and Luisma both shooting wide during the opening stages.
They took the lead that their good play deserved on 25 minutes, with John Akinde firing home his tenth league goal of the season from inside the area after a corner from the left that had just eluded David Stephens fell at his feet.
The Bees’ number nine nearly grabbed a second five minutes later, nodding narrowly over after an excellent marauding run and cross by Vilhete down the right hand side.
Welling did grow into the game as the second half wore on, and registered their first shot on target on 40 minutes but Graham Stack was able to easily gather top scorer Harry Beautyman’s hooked volley from the edge of the box.
The Wings did find an equaliser two minutes before the break, when Graham Stack spilled a free kick by Chris Bush that bounced awkwardly immediately in front of him, allowing Joe Healy to
poke the ball inside the near post from close range.
Martin Allen did not bide his time in making changes during the second half, replacing Vilhete with Charlie MacDonald before the hour mark as the club captain made his return from a seven-week absence due to a knee injury sustained at Dover in September.
Barnet were seeing plenty of the ball but struggling to create too many clear-cut opportunities, with David Stephens going closest as he headed a free-kick from the right taken by Lee Cook over the bar.
David Hunt came on for his Barnet debut with a quarter of an hour remaining, replacing Sam Togwell as Andy Yiadom pushed further forward into midfield as Hunt filled in at right-back.
Welling nearly took the lead moments later when former Barnet striker Kieron St Aimee missed the target from a matter of yards out with a near-post effort from Jamal Fyfield’s left-wing cross.
Barnet continued to push for a winner as the game opened up, throwing on Luke Gambin in place of Luisma Villa during the final ten minutes.
And they were finally rewarded for their persistence deep into three minutes of stoppage time when a long ball forward by Graham Stack drifted over the Welling defence, allowing John Akinde to ghost in and finish calmly as the ball bounced off Buchel and high into the net to send the vociferous travelling Barnet fans wild.
The full-time whistle blew moments later to signal the Wings’ first home defeat of the season and the Bees’ seventh victory on the road to take them nine points clear of second-placed Gateshead having played a game more.
Next up for Barnet is a mouth-watering FA Cup first round tie at home to Wycombe, who today moved to the top of League Two, as two of the form teams in the country go head to head at The Hive.
Welling United: Benji Buchel; Ben Jefford, Chris Bush, Jamal Fyfield, Barney Williams; Jake Gallagher (c), Harry Beautyman, Jamie Day; Malachi Hudson (Jon Nouble 70), Keiron St Aimie, Joe Healy.
Barnet FC: Graham Stack; Andy Yiadom, David Stephens, Bondz N’Gala, Mauro Vilhete (Charlie MacDonald 52); Sam Togwell (David Hunt 75), Elliott Johnson, Luisma Villa (Luke Gambin 79), Curtis Weston (c), Lee Cook; John Akinde.