Barnet v Crawley Town
Enzio Boldewijn made a goal and scored the other – his first since Boxing Day - as Reds continued their good away form with a point at The Hive.
It could have been three. Jamal Campbell-Ryce’s fluke equaliser, when his cross drifted into the top corner, came two minutes from the end of stoppage time.
Crawley had twice led with Boldewijn teeing Rhys Murphy in the 31st minute to score his first goal for the club. The Dutchman then lashed home from a tight angle in the 54th minute.
It was scrappy at times but Reds were well worth their point. They defended well to combat ex-Crawley striker John Akinde and a physical Barnet side.
There was one change to the side which lost to Portsmouth on Tuesday with Conor Henderson restored to midfield in place of Josh Payne. Josh Yorwerth returned on the bench after missing the midweek action because of illness.
Perhaps it was the warm Spring sunshine, perhaps it was the testing schedule in recent weeks but the game took 30 minutes to get going with both sides struggling to put decent moves together on a dry, bobbly pitch.
Glenn Morris, fresh from signing a new contract on Friday, did well to smother Anekole’s shot after the midfield had ghosted past a couple of challenges to create the first dangerous moment.
Reds were prepared to go long if necessary but they also tried to play and a minute after Dean Cox’s 25-yard free kick had been tipped over they took the lead.
James Collins found Boldewijn on the right and he cut inside before picking out Murphy, whose right-foot shot beat Buchel with the aid of a deflection.
The lead, though, only lasted seven minutes. Campbell-Ryce’s left-wing cross found Simeon Akinola on the penalty spot and his acrobatic overhead kick found the bottom left-hand corner of the net.
As the game grew to life, Charlie Clough glanced Ruben Bover’s teasing free kick wide before Murphy had another chance in stoppage time. After a good move Josh Lelan’s cross was touched back by Collins but Murphy failed to keep his volley down.
Ryan Watson replaced Bover at the break and nearly made an instant impression, volleying a yard wide within a minute of coming on. Defender Ricardo Santos then directed Campbell-Ryce’s cross onto the roof of the net.
Reds had struggled to get going in the second half but they went ahead in the 54th minute. Boldewijn outmuscled Elliott Johnson down the right after skipper Jimmy Smith had chipped the ball forward and he beat Buchel with a shot inside the far post.
The goalscorer made way for Bobson Bawling midway through the half by which time the contest had got stretched. Clough let fly from outside the box and his shot went just past the far post and then met Campbell-Ryce’s free kick with a header which was fortunately straight at Morris.
With ten minutes to go Murphy was replaced by Josh Payne as Reds adopted a ‘we hold what we have’ policy. Clough blazed over from a great position but two minutes from time Barnet scored a freakish equaliser. Campbell-Ryce dug out a cross from the left and it drifted over Morris and inside the far post.
It was a blow for Reds but they nearly won it in stoppage time. Cox’s corner was met by a powerful header from Smith. Buchel made a terrific save and then got up to block Collins’ follow-up from a couple of yards out. Cox then saw a volley from 12 yards out blocked as Reds finished on top.
It was a dramatic finale and both sides ended happy that their efforts got some reward.
Reds: Morris; Young, Connolly, McNerney, Lelan; Boldewijn (Bawling 67), Smith, Henderson, Cox; Murphy (Payne 80), Collins. Subs not used: Mersin, Blackman, Yorwerth, Clifford. Djalo.
Attendance: 1701 (259 Crawley)