Barnet 1-1 FC Halifax Town

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Devante Rodney’s second-half equaliser extended FC Halifax Town’s unbeaten run to six games as they drew 1-1 at Barnet.

Wes Fonguck had put Barnet in-front as Town conceded for the first time in six matches, but Rodney’s second goal in as many games earned his side a point.

Eight days on from their last meeting, the two sides contested a more even match, and Town had to work much harder for what they got.

The Shaymen didn’t match the level of performance from a week ago, but at least showed resolve and resilience to earn a draw having fallen behind.

Ex-Barnet loanee Manny Duku and fellow loanee Rodney provided good outlets early on up-front for Town, offering pace, an good work ethic and aerial prowess.

That work-rate was mirrored throughout the Town side, who again began the match in a focused, assured manner.

They got an early foothold in the match with some corners and blocked shots, although both sides needed a little more care and cunning in the final third to create any decent openings.

But Barnet, who had offered little until then, took the lead with their first effort of the night midway through the opening half.

The hosts were given too much space to work the ball into the box, the lively Ephron Mason-Clark was not closed down quickly enough and from his pass, Fonguck rifled high into the net from 15 yards as Town conceded for the first time in over eight hours.

Duku nearly responded shortly afterwards from Nathan Clarke’s nod across goal, but Mark Cousins held his header well.

Sam Johnson produced a good save to deny Dave Tarpey from close range before Dan Sweeney headed the resulting corner wide at the near post.

Barnet improved after the goal, playing with more confidence, whereas Town seemed deflated by it, not quite flying into the hosts’ faces with the same relish.

The likes of James Hardy and Matty Kosylo hadn’t provided the sparks of creativity required; that foothold in the game was now Barnet’s.

Before the goal, Town’s diamond in midfield helped them retain possession and denied Barnet space in the middle third, but after it, Town’s passing was ineffective, and they lacked the width in advanced areas to get round the back of the hosts’ defence.

Without being brilliant, Barnet had certainly offered more composure going forward than at The Shay, but Halifax hadn’t had the same intensity to their play that helped them to that win last week, and had rather ambled their way to half-time.

Town were too hesitant in attack after the interval too though, with Duku and Rodney struggling to make the ball stick when it was played up to them.

Tarpey had wasted a decent chance by swiping scruffily at the ball from Fonguck’s lay-off, and then Nathan Clarke bravely blocked his shot from the edge of the box.

The uncharacteristically unproductive Hardy and the injured Duku were replaced just before the hour mark, but Halifax were disjointed and failing to find any fluency in the last third.

The hosts weren’t too much better in a contest that hadn’t reached top gear, but Sweeney should have scored with a back-post header from Cheye Alexander’s cross.

But Town, having switched to a 4-2-3-1, finally came to life when substitute Cameron King played an excellent through ball to Rodney, whose pace got him in on goal, and he fired low across goal from the left of the box.

As in the first-half, the goal prompted the team who scored it to up their game, as the momentum seemed to shift in Town’s favour, as they won more 50-50’s and played with more purpose.

But neither side could carve out a clear chance to grab the winner.

Barnet: Cousins, Alexander, Reynolds, Sweeney, Johnson, Taylor, Boucaud, Mason-Clark (Elito 88), Fonguck, Sparkes (Akinola 78), Tarpey. Subs not used: Matrevics, Barham, Tutonda.

Scorer: Fonguck (24)

Shots on target: 3

Shots off target: 9

Corners: 4

Halifax: Johnson, Duckworth, Clarke, Brown, Skarz, Maher, Ferry, Kosylo (Hanson 69), Hardy (King 57), Duku (Preston 57), Rodney. Subs not used: Rowley, Edwards.

Scorer: Rodney (73)

Shots on target: 2

Shots off target: 5

Corners: 3

Referee: Sam Allison

Attendance: 702

Town man of the match: Nathan Clarke