Barnet were narrowly defeated in their final pre-season friendly against Wycombe Wanderers on Saturday, going down 1-0 to the League Two side.
On balance, the Bees probably enjoyed the better of a scrappy game and ought to have taken the lead during the second half through a disallowed Luke Gambin goal, but were undone shortly afterwards by a spectacular strike from Peter Murphy.
Barnet: Stack; Vilhete, Johnson, N’Gala, Stephens; Marsh-Brown (Gambin 57), Weston, Togwell (Villa 90), Trialist (Muggleton 57); Akinde, MacDonald.
Martin Allen once again named a strong side for Barnet’s final pre-season friendly with just a week to go until the new campaign gets underway.
Mauro Vilhete came into the back four in place of Andy Yiadom who was rested with a minor toe complaint while David Stephens replaced Jack Saville in the heart of defence.
New signing Sam Togwell also came into the midfield having impressed against Margate in midweek.
Barnet nearly took the lead after just four minutes following a spell of pressure that saw the home side win two corners in quick succession. The second was played out to the left-hand side where the ball was swung in onto the head of Bondz N’Gala’s but the defender’s flicked header bounced agonisingly wide of the far post.
Five minutes later it was Wycombe who nearly took the lead, with centre back Aaron Pierre getting on the end a deep cross from the left, but he could not keep his header down despite being just a couple of yards out. Pierre would spurn an almost identical chance on 13 minutes, with his header bouncing wide of the target.
Barnet’s best chance of the second half came on 17 minutes when John Akinde, playing against his former club, outmuscled his marker to latch onto a pass and go through one-on-one against the goalkeeper, but the striker’s dinked finish bounced just wide of goal.
Barnet grew increasingly into the game as the first half wore on, and were causing Wycombe a number of problems with the pace of Vilhete on the right and Keanu Marsh-Brown on the left but could not quite find the goal that their build-up play deserved.
The second half was a much more cagey affair with both sides struggling to create many clear-cut chances as the game lost some of its rhythm due to a string of substitutions from both sides and a serious injury to Josh Scowen who was stretchered off just before the hour mark.
Barnet deserved to take the lead after having the ball in the back of the net on 66 minutes but were denied the goal be referee Nick Kinsely. Akinde was once again involved, surging forward before being fouled by Gary Doherty from behind with the goalkeeper advancing. The ball fell to Luke Gambin who rolled into the empty net but the referee had already blown for the free-kick rather than play any advantage, much to the annoyance of the home supporters.
Wycombe would go on to score the only goal of the game just three minutes later. Graham Stack’s clearance could only find substitute Max Kretzschmar who teed up Peter Murphy, a new signing from Accrington Stanley, to strike into the top corner from 35 yards with the outside of his boot.
Charlie MacDonald, skippering the Bees for the first time after being named as team captain yesterday, looked to have stolen through on goal on 78 minutes but a fine covering tackle in the nick of time denied him the opportunity.
That proved to be the last moment of note for the home side, as they concluded their pre-season campaign with a narrow defeat to the League Two side.
Next up is the first game of the new Conference season, as the Bees look to put all their pre-season work into practice away to Chester next Saturday.