huffed and puffed but could not blow Halifax Town’s house down as Lois Maynard’s winner inflicted the first defeat of the season on Edgar Davids’ men.
Davids who was absent from the dug-out this afternoon would have no doubt of been disenchanted by the Shaymen’s gallant defending.
An enthralling first-half display from both sides saw both teams seize the initiative and come close to breaking the deadlock. That accolade fell to Scott McManus
but only after a competitive opening quarter of play.
From the off Halifax suffocated the Barnet
backline when in possession, drawing mis-placed passes from the visitors and appeasement from the stands.
Despite Town’s encouraging start the North London outfit almost took the lead after an exquisite run and touch by Luke Gambin. After breezing past Ryan Toulson
his cut-back was clipped just over the top by former Dundee forward Jake Hyde.
By now Barnet
were settled and looked a whole lot more at ease with Gambin and Keanu Marsh-Brown twice releasing Hyde but Matt Glennon
’s goal remained untroubled.
was at his inventive best as his delicious back-heel freed the over-lapping McManus but Adam Smith could only fire at the shins of David Stephens.
After earlier whipping in a teasing free-kick, McManus scored his first goal of the season by drilling the ball beyond the despairing dive of Graham Stack and into the bottom right-hand corner from 25 yards out.
McManus continued to showcase his impressive energy levels by towering over Andy Yiadom but no blue shirt could profit from his knock-down.
A frenzied ending to the half gripped the Shay as both sides struck the crossbar.
A shoot onsite policy appeared to be the flavour of the latter stages, as Anthony Acheampong who looked uncomfortable all afternoon saw his feeble headed clearance fall to Lois Maynard only for his venomous half-volley to cannon against the bar.
With Stack’s bar still shaking, Barnet
were perilously close to equalising on two occasions. Stephens produced a stupendous effort that looked destined for the top left-hand corner only for the ball to bounce off the under-side of the woodwork and away. Moments earlier a tantalising Marsh-Brown delivery just evaded Gambin as he flung his head at the cross at the far-post.
The Hive Stadium side picked up from where they left off in the second half as Curtis Weston let rip from 20 yards out but Glennon safely parried low to his left. Roberto Garcia Casabella formerly of Atletico Madrid B looped a header onto the roof of the net as pressure was beginning to build on the home side.
That momentum was soon slashed as Lois Maynard gobbled up a Simon Ainge cushioned header from a McManus free-kick by thumping a close range volley home via the bar.
Despite Town’s handsome lead the precedent was set for a Barnet
onslaught as Neil Aspin’s men had to endure large spells of the game without the ball. A test of their resolve and durability was to come. With 25 minutes remaining Weston was proving to be a constant menace as the ex-Leeds United midfielder coaxed in-field and unleashed a speculative attempt that swerved past Glennon and in via the crossbar.
Sensing that an equaliser was in the offing Barnet
began to swarm forward in their droves as the hosts looked increasingly fatigued.
Boxed in and fighting to preserve their lead Ainge and Marc Roberts repelled every long ball and cross they faced. Weston was again leading the assault as his buccaneering run and offload to substitute Harry Crawford was blocked by Roberts.
However for all of Barnet
’s bombardment and guile Marsh-Brown almost scored an audacious lob that brushed the bar and fell kindly to Ainge to hack away from the danger zone as the Londoners cursed their wretched luck.
With four minutes of stoppage time awarded by fourth official Dean Chapman, the pantomime was far from over, as a last-ditch Ainge intervention inside the six-yard box produced the game’s final corner. Stack went up for the set-piece and bulldozed towards Mauro Vilhete’s kick but Roberts firmly headed away. As Halifax move five places to fifth in the Skrill Premier by maintaining their 100% home record.