Barnet were denied a point with a late winner in a five-goal thriller at Doncaster Rovers...
Barnet were cruelly denied a hard-earned point at Doncaster Rovers in EFL League Two after fighting back from 2-0 down only to lose 3-2 at the death.
The Bees went in at half time trailing to goals from James Coppinger and Matty Blair.
However, Sam Muggleton’s long throws helped Barnet back into the game with Bira Dembele heading home and substitute Luke Gambin – who should have been at Wembley with Malta getting ready to face England – turning home a late equaliser.
But, deep into injury time, Doncaster bagged a winner when Andy Williams converted a Blair cross from the right-hand side to undo all of Barnet’s good work.
Martin Allen made three changes from the side held 0-0 by Leyton Orient last weekend. Harry Taylor, Elliott Johnson and Shaun Batt all dropped out through injury.
In came Sam Muggleton, making his first EFL League Two start of the season, Bondz N’Gala and Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro.
Muggleton started in front of Dembele, who was at left-back, with Jamal Campbell-Ryce on the right of midfield and Akpa Akpro up front.
Doncaster saw a lot of the ball early on but struggled to turn possession into chances. That was until Coppinger lashed home a stunning volley to put the home side ahead.
The skipper, stationed on the edge of the penalty area, was in the right place at the right time to crash a volley beyond Josh Vickers after a Barnet clearance dropped in front of him.
Barnet’s best moments came from Muggleton’s long throw which the home side never got to grips with.
In the 23rd minute the left-back hurled the ball into the box where N’Gala flicked on for Campbell-Ryce. The winger sat up a cross to the far post, N’Gala flicked on for Akpa Akpro who sent a bicycle kick narrowly wide.
Just after the half-hour mark Darren Ferguson’s side doubled their lead with an incisive move.
Blair combined with striker Liam Mandeville, running in behind the Bees defence before slotting low past Vickers from inside the penalty area.
Again Barnet nearly responded through a Muggleton throw, Dembele flicking wide of the far post with Campbell-Ryce lurking dangerously.
John Akinde had his best sight of goal four minutes before half time, straining to nod Ryan Watson’s deep corner wide at the back post.
A minute before the break another Muggleton missile caused problems but neither Dembele nor Campbell-Ryce could force the ball home to reduce the arrears before the break.
The second half continued in much the same pattern with Barnet causing the home side problems from Muggleton’s throw.
Campbell-Ryce was a threat too, slinging in a cross which Dembele and Nelson both had a bite at without testing Marosi.
The Bees went closer still when Watson delivered a corner which fell perfectly for N’Gala. The big centre-back got a firm connection but Marosi gathered the ball at the second attempt.
Barnet’s luck finally changed in the 63rd minute when Dembele met a Muggleton throw with a bullet header into the bottom corner to haul the Bees back into the game.
Substitute Justin Amaluzor nearly found an equaliser with 19 minutes remaining, wriggling into the penalty area and forcing a smart low stop from Marosi at his near post.
Doncaster were struggling to get out their own half but, on one of the few occasions they did, Williams was thwarted by Vickers when one-v-one inside the penalty area.
But, with four minutes remaining, Barnet bagged the equaliser their second-half display deserved.
Another Muggleton hurl up the line was worked into the path of Gambin by a combination of Dembele and Akinde.
The winger, who missed out on Malta’s World Cup qualifier against England at Wembley today thanks to suspension, curled past Marosi first time to draw the Bees level.
However, there was still a twist in what had already been a game packed with drama and, two minutes into an additional five, Doncaster broke Barnet hearts with a winner.
A slick move down the right-hand side resulted in Williams tucking home Blair’s near post cross to win it for Rovers.
Barnet return to action at home to Exeter City next weekend.
Barnet: Vickers; Vilhete, N'Gala, Nelson, Dembele; Campbell-Ryce (Gambin 74), Watson, Togwell (Nicholls 78), Muggleton; Akpa Akpro (Amaluzor 58), Akinde.
Subs: Stephens (GK), Sesay, J.Taylor, Payne.
Doncaster Rovers: Marosi; Mason (Baudry 70), Wright, Butler, Evina; Houghton, Blair, Rowe, Coppinger (c) (Calder 74); Williams, Mandeville.
Subs: Etheridge (GK), Middleton, Beestin, Garratt, Longbottom.
Referee: Trevor Kettle.
Attendance: 4,861 (198 Barnet supporters).