Barnet made to pay for failing to take early chances in Emirates FA Cup...
Barnet’s Emirates FA Cup adventure has come to an end after the Bees were beaten 3-0 at EFL League One side Shrewsbury Town.
The Bees had enjoyed by far the better of the first half when they fell behind to Mat Sadler’s 29th minute strike.
But that goal changed the course of the game and the Shrews doubled up four minutes later, AJ Leitch-Smith heading home.
A triple change at half time looked to have had the desired effect until, in the 57th minute, full-back Jack Grimmer lashed home a third for the hosts.
Martin Allen made five changes from the side which beat Hartlepool United 3-2 last weekend with John Akinde missing out through suspension.
Josh Vickers, Harry Taylor, Luke Gambin and Nana Kyei also dropped out with Jamie Stephens, Elliott Johnson, Curtis Weston, Sam Muggleton and Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro – against his former club – coming into the team.
Barnet were by far the most threatening of the two sides in the early exchanges and caused the Shrews untold problems from set pieces and long throws.
An early ball forward fell perfectly for Akpa Akpro inside the penalty area. But, with the angle diminishing, the Frenchman could not get the ball under quickly enough to force past Jayson Leutwiler in the hosts’ goal.
Johnson, making his return from injury, bombed down the left shortly after and picked out Bondz N’Gala with a cross. But the powerful centre-back nodded just over the crossbar.
Barnet’s best early chance came after 25 minutes, Bira Dembele forcing a good stop from Leutwiler after meeting Weston’s corner with a firm header.
Dembele was on the end of another corner two minutes later, heading agonisingly wide of the far post.
In the 29th minute Shrewsbury took the lead against the run of play. Jim O’Brien’s free-kick from just outside the penalty area hit the crossbar and Sadler tucked home from point-blank range with Stephens floored.
Akpa Akpro nearly found an equaliser moments later but headed narrowly over the crossbar from Muggleton’s long throw.
Just after the half-hour mark the Shrews doubled their lead. Ivan Toney crossed from the left and Leitch-Smith steered past Stephens with a deft header.
The returning Stephens was called into action shortly before half time, pushing Leitch-Smith’s low shot around the post after he burst through one-v-one.
Barnet had the last chance of the half, Michael Nelson connecting with a corner but seeing his header tipped wide. The resulting corner came to nothing for the visitors.
Bees boss Allen made three half-time changes, bringing Ryan Watson, Gambin and Justin Amaluzor on for Tom Champion, Johnson and Ben Tomlinson.
However, a bright start from Barnet – with Amaluzor the protagonist – ended when Shrewsbury bagged a third in the 57th minute.
Full-back Grimmer strode forward and, out of nothing, fired beyond the helpless Stephens to give the EFL League One side a 3-0 lead.
From there the game petered out with Shrewsbury happy to play keep-ball and Barnet unable, try as they might, to find a route back into the tie.
Bees skipper Nelson had the game's final chance but, typical of the visitors' luck, nodded against the far post.
Barnet host Peterborough United at The Hive on Tuesday in their final EFL Checkatrade Trophy group fixture (kick-off 8pm).
Barnet: Stephens; Vilhete, N’Gala, Nelson (c), Dembele, Johnson (Gambin HT); Weston, Champion (Watson HT), Muggleton; Akpa Akpro, Tomlinson (Amaluzor HT).
Subs: Vickers (GK), Sesay, H. Taylor, Nicholls.
Shrewsbury Town: Leutwiler; Grimmer, El-Abd (c), Sadler, Brown; O'Brien, Deegan, Agogo, Leitch-Smith; Toney (Waring 85), Dodds (Whalley 83).
Subs: Halstead (GK), McGivern, Lancashire, Smith, Sarcevic.
Referee: Ben Toner.
Attendance: 3,120 (132 Barnet supporters).