Gravesend & Northfleet 1 Barnet 1

Last updated : 13 March 2004 By Footymad Previewer

Gravesend's improving fortunes saw them make another dent in the hopes of one of the Conference's promotion chasing outfits in this bruising encounter at Stonebridge Road.

Greg Pearson's equaliser an hour into the game improved the match after an early goal from defender Chris Moore proved to be the only highlight in a dull first half.

In the final half-hour both sides had chances to clinch all three points.

Both sides were without their in-form strikers. Giuliano Grazioli was missing for the Bees and Roy Essandoh was absent for the Fleet after picking up an angle injury in training.

Perhaps then it was no surprise that Gravesend's talismanic central defender Moore should open the scoring, forcing the ball home at close range after James Pinnock had turned Justin Skinner's early corner into his path.

Hopes of a goal feast however receded in a sticky pitch in an error ridden first half.

The best of the few chances created fell to Barnet, but both Ben Strevens and Simon Clist only found the gloves of Fleet keeper Paul Wilkerson.

The introduction of Barnet's on-loan youngster Pearson served to perk up the visitors after the break. A corner tested the Fleet back four and the equaliser proved inevitable.

A deep ball from Ian Hendon was flicked on by former Fleet frontman Liam Hatch and an unmarked Pearson found himself with time to bring the ball down and drive it through the legs of Wilkerson.

Pearson was to see a second effort ruled out for offside and with the Fleet manager Andy Ford fearing the game might slip away, he introduced Moussa Sidibe.

With both sides now in search of victory there were chances for both sides in the final 15 minutes.

Bees captain Hendon saw his well struck free-kick well held by Wilkerson. His counterpart in the Barnet goal Ademola Bankole was also called into action stopping both Steve Perkins and Manny Omoyinmi before producing a brilliant stop from Fleet sub Ben Abbey.

Gravesend boss Andy Ford had mixed feelings at the final whistle: "We went 1-0 up very early and we should have gone on from that.

"It sometimes appears a stupid thing to say, but scoring early is not always the best thing. But I am pleased we matched Barnet for effort and skill." Bees boss Martin Allen refused to be downbeat after two draws: "We didn't played well in the first half, but we did play well in the second.

"The fact that their keeper was the man of the match tells it all. The players are extremely disappointed, but I was delighted with their efforts."