Reds finished the season with an eighth successive defeat as the Sky Bet League 2 campaign finished on a sombre note.
There was little between the sides except in one crucial area as Reds once again struggled in front of goal.
Crawley have scored just 13 goals in the calendar year and despite creating some good chances, particularly in the opening third of the game, they couldn’t find the target and Barnet scored from their only three shots on target through Elliot Johnson (39) and John Akinde (79, 89), the striker who only netted once in two seasons with Reds but has finished the season with 23 goals.
How Reds could have done with someone like that in the last few months.
Dermot Drummy made four changes for his first home game in charge. In came Jack Rose, Bobson Bawling, Frankie Sutherland and Josh Yorwerth. Callum Preston, Joe McNerney, Liam McAlinden and Lyle Della-Verde dropped to the bench.
Bawling lined up on the right and Fenelon the left of midfield with Gavin Tomlin playing a slightly withdrawn role up front behind striker Lee Barnard.
Head Coach Dermot Drummy got a warm ovation from the home fans when he was introduced before kick-off and his side made a positive start, with Jimmy Smith, who scored at The Hive in December, close in the fifth minute with a free kick which was deflected for a corner which Sonny Bradley met. His header, though, hit Akinde on the line and Barnet cleared.
Reds had another great chance six minutes later. Tomlin’s pass found Bawling in space but with only keeper Jamie Stephens to beat he lifted his shot over the KRL Stand.
Stephens beat away a volley from the lively Smith in the 19th minute then a free kick by the midfielder found Sonny Bradley at the far post. He hooked it goalwards but Bees’ skipper Michael Gash’s clearance was gratefully clutched by Stephens.
Bawling was shown a yellow card for a late challenge on Luke Gambin moments after his left-foot shot had been deflected by a defender.
Barnet had their first shot on target in the 39th minute – and took the lead. Reds failed to clear a corner on the right and when it fell to left-back Johnson he hit a powerful drive unchallenged from 20 yards which took a deflection on its way past a helpless Jack Rose.
On the balance of play it was undeserved but Reds nearly levelled within a minute when Fenelon’s volley beat Stephens but was cleared off the line by Bira Dembele.
Barnet had to make a change in stoppage time when Harry Taylor came off after suffering a leg injury and was replaced by Wesley Fonguck.
Reds began the second half brightly too. Bawling and Fenelon were all involved in setting up Tomlin, whose shot was blocked but Barnet responded immediately and Nana Kyei’s shot was blocked by Yorwerth.
Lewis Young was booked for a late challenge on Sam Togwell as Reds struggled for momentum in the first 15 minutes of the second half. They nearly conceded a second when Akinde’s old-fashioned shoulder charge left Charles Dunne on the deck but his ball across the face of goal just eluded Gambin.
Reds made their first change on 62 minutes when Edwards replaced Fenelon and three minutes later the midfielder was booked for a challenge on Dembele, who limped off with a knee injury and was replaced by Tom Day.
Edwards looked lively and Stephens was tested for the first time in the second half by a shot which the keeper always had covered, but it had been hard work since the break for the hosts to create clear-cut chances.
Barnet made their final change in the 74th minute when Justin Nwogu came on before McAlinden replaced Tomlin. Barnard then shot on the turn but his effort was a couple of yards wide but, almost inevitably, Akinde then found the target against his former club with 13 minutes to go, chipping the loose ball over Rose after a mix-up in the heart of the home defence.
Barnard was replaced by Lyle Della-Verde with six minutes to go and Bawling nearly got on the scoresheet when Stephens blocked his shot but Barnet grabbed a third in the last minute. Akinde got the wrong side of Yorwerth as he latched onto a long ball and as Rose came out he flicked it into an empty net.
For Reds’ new Head Coach the hard work really starts next week when he outlines which players will be part of his plans for next season and begins the task of recruiting some new faces too. It promises to be another busy summer at the Checkatrade Stadium.
Onwards and upwards!