Barnet 2 United 2
United picked up a point at Barnet tonight as goals from Sean Rigg and Andy Whing earned them a 2-2 draw. Having fallen behind early on the U's hit back to lead 2-1 before Jake Hyde's second of the night gave the Bees a share of the spoils.
Early goals seem to be the norm in United games and there were two inside the first six minutes. Just four minutes and 25 seconds into the game it was the home side who took the lead with the simplest of goals. A right wing corner was swung in and Hyde looped a header, unchallenged over Ryan Clarke and just under the bar to make it 1-0 with his first of the evening.
To their enormous credit United reacted in positive fashion straight away. Tony Capaldi sent in a long cross from the left which James Constable nodded down for Rigg to ghost on to and drill into the net to make it 1-1 after six minutes.
Rigg, coming back on the left wing after illness, was one of two changes to the side beaten at Chesterfield, with Adam Chapman returning in central midfield in place of the suspended Lee Cox. Having also scored on the same ground in the FA Cup two weeks earlier, after also being set up by Constable, Rigg was enjoying his return to Underhill and with the front two of Constable and Alfie Potter linking well United were looking lively in attack.
However it was an open game and the Bees were much improved on that FA Cup display, flashing in two very dangerous crosses from either flank which were just lacking the finishing touch. Another corner after 25 caused problems as Clarke scrambled to clear another looping effort which at one stage appeared beyond him, but on a heavy pitch and with persistent rain set pieces were causing problems for both defences and Rigg powered a 30th minute header just wide from a Leven corner.
Rigg ended the half with another rasping drive which flew just wide of the mark, and there was plenty of optimism at the break as United turned to play down the considerable slope in the second period. That optimism swiftly turned into a second goal as yet again a half began with an early goal, this time at the right end. Within 44 seconds of the restart United were back in the lead as Peter Leven, ever the provider, curled in a free kick from the right. Whing rose near the penalty box and flicked his header goalwards. Keeper Graham Stack was helpless as the ball went over his head, struck the underside of the bar and bounced into the net to leave the delighted Whing having to try and remember his goal celebration as he wheeled away after his first goal for the club.
Barnet struggled to match the tempo they had shown in the first half but continued to show far more commitment than they had in that earlier meeting and United were never comfortable despite Rigg glancing a cross shot off of the bar after an hour. On 70 minutes it was 2-2 as the very influential Andy Yiadom again sent them forward down the left and a low cross was flicked home at the near post by Hyde for his second goal of the game.
Strangely, this second meeting had far more of a cup-tie about it, and on 74 we had the drama of Stack catching a back pass on his line and conceding a free kick. With the entire Barnet back line on the line and the free kick wrongly taken from a foot away from the goal line instead of on the six yard line there was simply no room for Leven to squeeze his shot home as the Bees charged his shot down, with Whing unable to keep his follow up effort down.
At the other end Clarke saved well at full stretch from a Jon Nurse shot after 79 minutes then could only watch as a Ricky Holmes piledriver from the edge of the box flew just outside his right hand post. Five minutes from time a Leven shot from the edge of the box forced Stack into another save and then United could so easily have made it three points in the very final minute. Rigg crossed, Mullins headed down and somehow the ball span off the right hand post, span across to hit the other upright, and stayed out of the net to mean last minute anguish.
Having given up a point three days before United were not about to repeat that mistake and made sure that this time they took something away from a well contested game played in trying conditions. But for that post it could so easily have been three points.
Report by Chris Williams, Pictures by Darrell Fisher, Stats by PA Sports
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