Barnet boss Martin Allen declared himself pleased with the Bees’ performance in their 2-2 draw at MK Dons in their first Checkatrade Trophy fixture on Tuesday night.
The Dons, relegated from the Championship at the end of last season, went ahead after 17 minutes through Ben Reeves. However, Alex Nicholls and Curtis Weston both scored after the break to put Barnet in front.
It stayed that way until eight minutes from time when Joe Walsh headed an equaliser for the hosts. Both sides earned a point for their endeavours inside 90 minutes but MK Dons took a bonus point for winning a penalty shootout 5-3.
Allen was encouraged by Barnet’s reaction to Saturday’s 1-0 defeat against Carlisle United in EFL League Two.
“I am pleased after the weekend,” Allen said. "It was a disappointing weekend. So to come here and play like we did – you have to remember they were playing in the Championship last season and two seasons ago we were in the Conference.
"But, as you could see from that second half, we’re getting closer and closer. I’m not too disappointed about the penalties. It was just a good performance.”
Allen continued: “It was a difficult opening 20 minutes where they popped the ball around really well, had really good movement and it was difficult for us to get close enough to put our mark on the game.
“But we kept in there and held ourselves together. We made a couple of positional and tactical changes which stopped their flow towards our goal.
“As the game went on we got stronger and closer. In the second half I thought it was one-way traffic; it was domination and our players really stepped up another gear in the second half.
"They showed the levels of fitness we’ve got through James Russell and the work he had been doing with the players.”
Justin Amaluzor and Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro were introduced from the bench at half-time and helped turn the game in Barnet’s favour after the break.
“The introduction of the substitutes really made a difference,” said Allen. “Justin Amaluzor gave us something different once again and that’s another 19-year-old into the team.
“He was superb in the pre-season games and probably unlucky not to play before now. He and Akpa Akpro came on and made a real difference.
"Those two lads really helped the team change it around from half time with their pace and energy, and gave us a real threat in behind which we didn’t have in the first half.”