Barnet’s Under-18s were knocked out of the FA Youth Cup in desperately unlucky circumstances as they went down 0-3 at The Hive to Barton Rovers.
The Bees dominated from start to finish but they were continuously denied by the inspired Barton keeper Aaron Fulton who had a night he will never forget.
Shot after shot rained in on the Rovers’ goal but the away side’s resilience paid off when they were gifted a 60th minute penalty that Dillon Barnes tipped against the post but the wicked spin on the ball saw it bounce back over the line.
Coach Tom Donati can be extremely proud of his players who continued to dominate for the final half hour only to go cruelly unrewarded as Barton added two on the counter in the dying stages.
With nine minutes played the Bees found their rhythm and El-Mhanni began to pull the strings, it was the attacking midfielder who went close first as keeper Aaron Fulton denied him from range.
Two minutes later Barton failed to clear and El Mhanni’s deflected pass fell into the path of Moses Duckrell who shot at the keeper one on one.
From the resulting corner the Bees went close again but Fulton was switched on once more to stop Jake Knight’s powerful header.
With 16 minutes played Rovers conjured their first chance of the match but Xavier Sweeney’s shot flew high and wide.
Barnet responded well to what could hardly be called a scare but Knight was again denied by Fulton who tipped his shot just over the bar.
Barton failed to offer anything going forward for the rest of the half but they defended resolutely as Jack Taylor, Knight, El-Mhanni and Cain were all denied.
The second period began how the first one ended with Barnet on the front foot led by El-Mhanni who cut inside and sent a dipping shot inches wide of the post.
With 50 minutes on the clock El-Mhanni again tried his luck but Alex Condon’s header deflected it wide.
Eight minutes later Rovers went close as Jack Large volleyed into the side-netting but Dillon Barnes arguably had it covered.
Two minutes later the away side were gifted a penalty and despite Barnes making the initial save it bobbled onto the post before spinning wickedly into the net.
After taking the lead Barton went back to doing what they did all night, very little, as Barnet went in search of an equalising goal.
In the 69th minute the impressive Jack Taylor almost got it but he was unable to connect with James Charles’ superb cross.
Changes followed in the latter stages as coach Tom Donati looked to turn the Bees’ dominance into a deserved reward.
With nine minutes on the clock Fulton was again the hero for Barton as he got down well to tip Knight’s shot around the post.
With three minutes remaining Barton added a second on the counter as Solomon Dawodu swept the ball past Barnes.
The away side added a third in added time when Kier Dixon’s header caught Barnes flat footed and the ball rolled agonisingly into the net.