Barnet move eight points clear with flurry of late goals.Barnet returned to winning ways in emphatic style on Saturday, beating Southport 4-0 at The Hive to move eight points clear at the top of the Vanarama Conference.
Charlie MacDonald gave the Bees a first-half lead, before Luisma Villa, John Akinde and Sam Muggleton added late goals following an evenly-contested second half.
Ahead of the game, Martin Allen named two changes to the side that lost against Grimsby last time out. Jack Saville replaced David Stephens in the heart of the Bees’ defence, with Luisma Villa lining up in midfield as Andy Yiadom reverted to right-back.
Southport had an early chance during a cagey opening by both teams, as James Caton ghosted into the box but was just unable to get enough contact on a cross from the right as the ball flew wide of the post.
Barnet quickly settled into their stride however and came close shortly after a quarter of an hour when Bondz N’Gala flicked a teasing free-kick by Lee Cook goalwards only to be denied by a spectacular save by Callum Burton in the Southport goal.
Yet they only had to wait two more minutes to take the lead, as Charlie MacDonald pounced on a Dominic Collins clearance that was inadvertently blocked by his team mate to fire a left-footed half volley beyond the reach of the goalkeeper and into the far corner.
The captain then nearly doubled the Bees’ lead on the half-hour mark, racing onto a superb ball over the top by Sam Togwell before firing a fierce first-time volley at goal which Burton managed to tip onto the crossbar on its way over.
The keeper was called into action once again on 37 minutes when he got down to parry away a low effort from Lee Cook following a neat free-kick routine, before Luisma fired another set piece narrowly over the bar shortly afterwards as Barnet were forced to settle for a one-goal lead at the break.
The second half began in much the same way as the first, as both sides struggled to assert their authority on the game.
The visitors continued to look dangerous on the break however, and came close to equalising twice in quick succession shortly after the hour mark when first Graham Stack produced a fingertip save to deny Paul Rutherford before Curtis Weston was forced to head the resulting corner off the line.
Barnet were creating chances of their own however, and nearly stretched their lead on 78 minutes when Luisma caught everybody off guard with a free-kick from 35 yards that struck the inside of the post as everybody was waiting for a cross into the box.
The Spaniard was not to be denied two minutes later however, firing low into the bottom corner after the ball had fallen to him on the right-hand side of the penalty area to make it 2-0 with ten minutes to play.
Having finally created a bit of breathing space the home side were ruthless during the closing stages, making it 3-0 two minutes from time as John Akinde raced onto a well-weighted pass by Curtis Weston before calmly rolling home for his 25th of the season.
The Bees were still not done, and added even more gloss to the scoreline deep into four minutes of stoppage time through the most unlikely of scorers, as late substitute in Sam Muggleton raced onto a delightful scooped pass over the defence by Michael Gash - making his home debut from the bench - before planting a looping header over the keeper to spark joyous scenes of celebration both on the pitch and in the dugout, not to mention the stands.
Next up for Barnet is another difficult trip to Halifax on Saturday, as the Bees look to maintain their strong position at the top of the table.
Barnet FC: Graham Stack; Andy Yiadom, Bondz N’Gala, Jack Saville, Mauro Vilhete; Luisma Villa (Luke Gambin 86), Sam Togwell, Curtis Weston, Lee Cook (Sam Muggleton 77); John Akinde, Charlie MacDonald (c) (Michael Gash 81).
Southport FC: Callum Burton; Paul Smith, Dominic Collins, Joe Connor, DavidFitzpatrick; Paul Rutherford (John Marsden 86), Luke George (c) (Scott Kay 78), Andy Parry (Micah Evans 65), James Caton; Danny Hattersley, Charlie Joyce.