It was Paul Fairclough’s first home match in charge of the Bees since the dismissal of Mark Stimson on New Years Day. Fairclough kept Liam O’Brien in goal following the win at Bradford, whilst it was left to Clovis Kamdjo to fill in at right back as George Francomb’s loan from Norwich City had expired. The Shrews meanwhile opted to play a 4-4-2 formation, with the young pairing of James Collins and Tom Bradshaw leading the attack.
It was a dire game of very few chances, and the nearest either side got to getting themselves on the score sheet came after 14 minutes. Mark Marshall managed to shrug off Dean Holden on the left wing, before cutting inside to produce a weak shot which was easily stopped by goalkeeper Chris Neal in the away side’s goal.
After 27 minutes, it was the side from Shropshire who were able to celebrate. After a spell of ping ball in the Barnet penalty area, Tom Bradshaw put enough pressure on Mark Hughes for the Northern Irishman to spoon the ball past Liam O’Brien and into his own net. It was another calamitous own goal conceded by Barnet, following Grant Basey’s embarrassment on Bank Holiday Monday at Stevenage.
Neither team were able to produce anything special in the rest of the first half, so Shrewsbury were able to go into the halftime interval ahead.
10 minutes after the restart, a well worked Shrewsbury free kick was flicked onto Steven Leslie whose thunderous shot sailed over O’Brien’s goal.
Paul Fairclough decided to mix things up after an hour, when Mark Hughes and Mauro Vilhete made way for Glenn Poole and Charlie Taylor respectively, with the Bees looking for an equalizer.
But instead, after 63 minutes, Shrewsbury were presented with an even better chance to double their advantage. Some good play from Tom Bradshaw through the heart of the midfield was followed by a neat through ball by the 18 year old that played in Mark Wright, but his body shape was all wrong, and he eventually side footed the ball a few yards wide of the goal.
Shrewsbury were looking dominant, and had another chance when the ball fell at Liverpudlian Kevin McIntyre’s right boot which saw his driven shot saved by the legs of O’Brien.
With 5 minutes remaining, Wright was able to beat Anwar Uddin for pace on the left wing and crossed the ball to substitute Matt Harrold who headed wide from seemingly point-blank range.
That miss proved very costly for Shrewsbury. In the first minute of injury time, Uddin launched another speculative long ball up field which wasn’t dealt with by the Shrewsbury defenders, who let Charlie Taylor make the most of a sloppy header for Dean Holden, before the attacker was able to slot the ball past Chris Neal and into the net.
It sparked wild scenes of celebration from the frustrated Barnet faithful, and despite some effort from the Bees player to grab a winner; the referee blew his whistle for full time which signalled the fact the home side snatched a crucial point. Despite Hereford’s surprising 3-0 win at home against Stockport County, the Bees remain one place outside the relegation zone, albeit having played two and four games more from their respected relegation rivals below in the table.
Next Saturday, the Bees will be hoping for another good result at Macclesfield Town, who will be playing their first home game since the death of midfielder Richard Butcher.
Man of the Match: Tom Bradshaw
Bees Man of the Match: Charlie Taylor