Barnet were held to a goalless stalemate by Chelmsford City at Melbourne Stadium on Saturday, as the Bees were forced to settle for a replay in their FA Cup fourth qualifying round match.
Both teams had good chances to win the match during a closely-fought contest, but with neither side able to find the vital goal the tie will be settled with a replay on Tuesday night at The Hive.
Ahead of the game, Martin Allen made two changes to the side that beat Braintree in midweek. Sam Hoskins started up front alongside John Akinde having recovered from a knock sustained against Kidderminster.
Mauro Vilhete also lined up on the left-hand side of defence as Lee Cook dropped to the bench, with Elliott Johnson moving forward to fill his usual berth on the left wing.
As expected, there were one of two familiar faces in the Chelmsford matchday squad, with former Barnet skipper Mark Hughes lining up in the centre of midfield and Nicky Nicolau starting on the bench.
Barnet had the first chance during a frenetic opening on five minutes, when Akinde tussled his way to the ball on the touchline before feeding Curtis Weston who swung in a cross from the right that Hoskins could only head over.
Chelmsford’s first real opening came shortly after a quarter of an hour, when Stevenage loanee Rohdell Gordon teed up Michael Cheek in the box, who shot into the side netting after being forced wide by his first touch.
Arguably the best chance of the game fell to Luisma on 26 minutes when a deep cross from the left picked out his run towards the back post, but despite being unmarked and just eight yards out the Spaniard could not keep his first-time volley down as the ball sailed over the bar.
Barnet had another glorious opportunity two minutes later, when an in-swinging corner from the left found its way through to Bondz N’Gala at the back post, but having travelled through a crowd of bodies the ball took the defender by surprise as he poked wide from a narrow angle.
In an end-to-end game, the hosts were the next to go close shortly after the half-hour mark, when Gordon shimmied his way into the box before sending a teasing ball across the face of goal with the outside of his foot that Joe Ward was just inches away from converting.
Martin Allen made once change at the break by introducing Lee Cook in place of Luisma, as Vilhete switched to the right-wing and Johnson reverted to left-back.
It was down the left-hand side that Barnet nearly found the breakthrough just four minutes after the interval, when Yado Mambo failed to shield Hoskins from the ball. However, having stolen a run on goal, keeper Tony Thompson was alert to clear the danger.
There was a moment of panic on 54 minutes when a Chelmsford corner bounced off Andy Yiadom’s thigh in the penalty area, but with two home players advancing on the ball Graham Stack was quickly off his line to dive on the loose ball.
The goalkeeper then set up an immediate counter attack with some quick distribution, culminating in some neat interplay between Curtis Weston and Hoskins that set the skipper up for a strike on goal, but with the ball getting caught under his feet he could not get enough power on his effort as Thompson easily gathered.
Weston went close again on 67 minutes, controlling a header down by Akinde on the penalty spot before seeing a bobble on the pitch take the ball away from his swinging leg as shaped to shoot.
Barnet looked to have found the vital goal three minutes later, when David Stephens connected with a corner from the left with a powerful header which was inadvertently blocked on the line by the goalkeeper’s leg before he had even had time to react.
With twenty minutes remaining, Martin Allen introduced 16-year-old Mathew Stevens for his second senior appearance, to see if – having scored a second hat-trick in a row in the FA Youth Cup on Wednesday – he could find the breakthrough.
Despite enduring periods of pressure from the home side Barnet continued to search for a winner, with Mauro Vilhete coming close twice inside the final minute of normal time. His first shot across goal after being teed up by Weston was palmed away before he retrieved the ball thirty yards out and unleashed a shot that clipped the top of the crossbar on its way over.
Barnet did have one final chance during four minutes of additional time when a looping header by David Stephens was well cleared at the back post by Yado Mambo before the ball could creep over the line.
It brought to an end a frantic final period that summed up the game as whole, with both sides enjoying chances but neither displaying a clinical edge.
The replay will take place in just three days’ time at The Hive in a game that will kick off at 20:00, by which time both sides will know their potential opponents in the first round proper following Monday’s draw.
Chelmsford City: Tony Thompson; Robert Girdlestone, Mark Haines (Marvin Ekpiteta 65), Yado Mambo, Leon Redwood; Lee Sawyer, Mark Hughes (c), Joe Ward (Evans Kouassi 73), Christian Smith; Rohdell Gordon, Michael Cheek.
Barnet FC: Graham Stack; Andy Yiadom, David Stephens, Bondz N’Gala, Mauro Vilhete; Luisma Villa (Lee Cook 46), Sam Togwell, Curtis Weston (c), Elliott Johnson; John Akinde, Sam Hoskins (Mathew Stevens 71).