Curtis Weston earns Barnet a point with a late equaliser at The Hive...
Barnet left it late to secure a thoroughly-deserved point at home to Colchester United in EFL League Two, Curtis Weston ensuring a 1-1 draw with an 82nd-minute equaliser.
Colchester took the lead after just six minutes when Tarique Fosu-Henry drilled home low. But the Bees fought back and found an equaliser through Weston as they piled on the pressure.
Martin Allen named the same side which beat Mansfield Town last weekend, meaning a second successive start for Shaun Batt alongside John Akinde.
Bira Dembele was named on the bench for the first time since the drew with Crawley Town on August 20 after he passed a fitness test earlier in the week.
Colchester made a bright start and winger Kurtis Guthrie soon tested Bees keeper Josh Vickers with a low shot which needed a smart stop to the Swansea City loanee's right-hand side.
The U’s made good on their early promise just five minutes later when they went in front with a well-worked goal.
A slick passing move found Fosu-Henry in the penalty area and the winger took aim before slotting low past the helpless Vickers.
Barnet responded well to falling behind though. Batt broke through one-v-one only to be halted by a fine sliding challenge as he closed in on Sam Walker – a former Barnet loanee.
Batt was involved again shortly after, latching onto Alex Nicholls’ ball over the top and crossing low. However, Colchester keeper Walker gobbled up the delivery to deny the Bees lurking in the penalty area.
A better chance arrived in the 19th minute. Luke Gambin crossed from the left and Bondz N’Gala flicked on. But Akinde couldn’t turn home at the far post.
After 31 minutes Bees head coach Allen decided to shake things up, introducing Jamal Campbell-Ryce in place of Nicholls down the right flank.
The arrival of the pacey winger livened Barnet up immediately; Batt heading into Walker’s palms after Akinde’s cut-back looped up into the middle of the penalty area.
Campbell-Ryce was causing Colchester left-back Brennan Dickenson problems. His cross fell perfectly for Batt but the forward nodded just over the crossbar.
The experienced wideman then steered an precise pass into the feet of Weston. Unable to get a clean shot off, the Bees midfielder laid off for Mauro Vilhete who lashed over moments before half time.
Colchester had the first chance of the second period, Drey Wright seeing his effort palmed away by Vickers.
Chances for either side were few and far between from that point though it was the Bees doing more to find an equaliser.
Barnet’s best opportunity arrived just after the hour, Campbell-Ryce dropping an inviting cross to the back post where Akinde could only nod wide.
Akinde went close again minutes later, but found Colchester bodies in the way of his stinging low shot from inside the penalty area.
With 22 minutes remaining the Bees won a free-kick on the edge of the U’s penalty area. Ryan Watson was introduced as Vilhete underwent treatment and the ex-Leicester City man took the set piece himself, earning a corner.
The Bees’ pressure finally told with eight minutes remaining. Following a string of Barnet corners the ball fell for Weston in the midst of a goalmouth scramble and he rammed home from close range.
Both sides pushed hard for a winner from that point. Colchester tried their luck through Chris Porter but the experienced forward couldn’t stretch Vickers on the turn and the game finished level.
Next up for Barnet in EFL League Two is a trip to Portsmouth next weekend.
Barnet: Vickers; Vilhete, N’Gala, Nelson (c), Johnson; Nicholls (Campbell-Ryce 31), Watson, Togwell (Watson 68), Gambin; Akinde, Batt (Akpa Akpro 59).
Substitutes: Stephens (GK), Dembele, Sesay, H. Taylor.
Colchester United: Walker; Brindley, Eastman, Prosser (c), Dickenson; Wright (Kinsella 68), Slater; Guthrie, Fosu-Henry (Vincent-Young 82), Szmodics (Kamara 33); Porter.
Substitutes: Bransgrove (GK), Wynter, Akinwande, Johnstone.
Referee: Brett Huxtable.
Attendance: 2,158 (674 Colchester United fans).