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Match Report

 

Posted Sat 11 Oct 14 at 18:42 PM

REPORT: BARNET 3-3 HARRIERS

Nathan Blissett’s brace sealed a remarkable second-half comeback by Harriers who came from 3-0 down to earn a point at league leaders Barnet.

Luisma Villa, Lee Cook and John Akinde all got onto the scoresheet as the Bees looked out of sight at half-time.

But substitute Michael Gash started proceedings for Harriers before Blissett’s double capped a fantastic turnaround for Gary Whild’s men, who put in a tremendous performance after the interval and at one point looked as though they could well steal victory at The Hive.

Nevertheless, a well-deserved point moves Harriers into eighth place, having taken four points from two games this week.

Boss Whild made three changes to the side which beat Welling United 2-1 at Aggborough on Wednesday night.

Josh Gowling returned from suspension to reclaim the captain’s armband, as Jamie Grimes dropped to the bench.

Callum Gittings made his third start of the season, while Blissett was also selected, both in place of Aman Verma and Gash.

Martin Allen also made three alterations after Barnet lost at Macclesfield Town on Tuesday, replacing Jack Saville, Mauro Vilhete and Jon Nurse with Cook, David Stephens and Villa.

Having gone into the interval with a three-goal disadvantage, Harriers made a double substitution at the start of the second half to introduce Grimes and Gash in place of the injured Gowling and Craig Reid.

And it didn’t take long for them to retaliate through Gash, who bagged his third goal of the season after 58 minutes.

It came in the form of a well-taken volley, the striker lurking at the back post to fire home from a great right-sided delivery by Gittings.

Harriers continued to press and were rewarded by two goals in two minutes by Blissett.

They came in identical circumstances, too, the 24-year-old heading home powerfully on both occasions from two pinpoint Kevin Nicholson corners to draw his side level.

Blissett had almost equalised mere seconds before, as only a well-timed Barnet tackle prevented him from sliding in to poke home Gash’s ball across the box - but it was this that won Harriers the corner from which he eventually capitalised on.

It was well and truly a game of two halves as Barnet got the better of the first 45 minutes and took a comfortable lead into the interval.

Villa’s spectacular 25-yard free-kick broke the deadlock for the Bees after 32 minutes.

Jack Byrne’s foul on Andy Yiadom gave the striker the opportunity to claim his fourth goal of the season; a chance he took, stepping up to curl an unstoppable effort into the bottom right-hand corner.

Six minutes later, another set-piece allowed Barnet to double their lead after Chey Dunkley fouled Sam Hoskins.

Cook duly sent in a right-sided free-kick which appeared to deceive all in the box and sneak in at the far post.

And a mix-up between goalkeeper Danny Lewis and his back line led to Barnet’s third two minutes before the interval.

With Lewis stranded out on the edge of the area, Akinde nipped between him and the surrounding red shirts to simply guide the ball into an empty net.

The Bees had been asking questions and it wasn’t surprising to see them capitalise on their pressure.

Hoskins forced Lewis into displaying quick reactions to deny his volley after 19 minutes, while Jared Hodgkiss headed clear Akinde’s threatening cross two minutes later.

For Harriers, Kyle Storer fired a free kick over the bar on the 16th minute before hitting a through ball headed for Reid on the half-hour mark which carried just a bit too much pace for the forward to latch onto.

Things went from bad to worse as Gowling suffered an injury to his collarbone, forcing a half-time change, and in truth Harriers needed something different to pick up in the second half.

Step forward Gash, who looked industrious and determined and linked up well with Gittings, almost resulting in a goal two minutes after the restart.

After getting one back, Ahmed Obeng replaced Marvin Johnson and the young winger’s pace and ability made an impact.

Obeng first hit the post with an angled shot after charging down the right-hand side on the 75th minute, before setting up Byrne on the edge of the area two minutes later for a shot which was claimed by Graham Stack.

From Gash’s pass, however, Obeng did superbly to win a corner - the very corner which set Blissett up with his first goal.

Harriers truly looked like a team who believed in themselves, further buoyed by the 132 travelling supporters who had been singing “We’re going to win 4-3!” since Gash scored.

Blissett and Gittings had further headed chances after Whild’s men drew level, but a point was celebrated by Harriers who showed fantastic character to claw a point from the jaws of defeat in spectacular fashion.

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