Mauro Vilhete’s deft header ensured Barnet started 2017 with a 1-0 win over EFL League Two leaders Plymouth Argyle at The Hive London.
The win means the Bees are now the only side in the league to do the double over the promotion hopefuls and gives Rossi Eames and Henry Newman their third win in five games.
The decisive goal arrived after a quarter of an hour when Vilhete flicked Nana Kyei’s corner kick beyond the reach of Pilgrims keeper Luke McCormick.
The Barnet XI read four changes from Saturday’s 3-1 defeat at Luton Town with full debuts handed to new signings Ricardo Santos and Simeon Akinola.
Also stepping into the team were Kyei and Harry Taylor, who making his return from injury. That meant both Taylor brothers started a league game together for the first time.
Bira Dembele, Luke Gambin, Jamal Campbell-Ryce and Alex Nicholls gave way. Two more new signings, Dan Sweeney and David Tutonda, were named as substitutes.
Plymouth had the game’s first chance of note after just two minutes. A corner from the right was met by centre-back Yann Songo’o but his header flashed wide.
Shortly after, Songo’o’s central defensive partner Sonny Bradley swept another corner towards the Bees goal but Jamie Stephens held his low effort.
After two warnings, though, it was Barnet who took the lead from a corner kick in the 15th minute. Kyei’s corner from the right found Vilhete who flicked his header into the far corner.
The goal gave Barnet added impetus and they might have doubled up in the 24th minute. Kyei darted into the penalty area and let fly with a firm connection which Luke McCormick blocked with his body.
Oscar Threlkeld responded for the Pilgrims on the half-hour mark, fizzing an effort in from the right-hand side which Stephens did well to hold in the middle.
Debutant Akinola got his first sight of goal ten minutes before half time when he was played through by Jack Taylor but, from an acute angle, he slashes over.
Barnet raced out of the blocks at the start of the second half and ought to have extended their lead within five minutes of the restart.
John Akinde bustled his way through to meet McCormick one-v-one but the Plymouth keeper stood up well to block the forward’s stinging shot.
Seconds later the Bees hit the bar; Kyei unleashing a curling effort which clipped the corner of the crossbar on its way over.
The Pilgrims had to wait until just before the hour mark for their first chance of the second period.
Half-time substitutes Gary Miller combined with David Fox before digging out a cross to the back post which Paul-Arnold Garita strained to reach and nod over.
Another three chances came and went in the 66th minute as debutant Santos, Akinde and Michael Nelson all had a stab at goal following a corner without finding a way past McCormick.
Plymouth, increasing in urgency, began to put more pressure on Barnet’s backline but could not find a way through back four marshalled superbly by skipper Nelson.
The Bees were still getting chances to kill the game off on the break and when Akinde powered through from the left-hand side he could not squeeze home a shot and instead settled for a corner.
Again Barnet were left scratching their heads with seven minutes remaining when Jack Taylor released Vilhete down the right. He motored on and forced a good stop from McCormick before lashing into the side netting with the rebound.
With the game becoming increasingly frantic as the clocked ticked down both teams continued to carve out chances.
Plymouth thought they’d equalised with five minutes remaining when substitute David Goodwillie found enough space to shoot but cracked against the near post.
Four nervy minutes of added time dragged by but the Bees held on to start 2017 in style.
Barnet are at Leyton Orient on Saturday (3pm kick off).
Barnet: Stephens; H. Taylor (Muggleton 85), Nelson (c), Santos, Johnson; Vilhete, J. Taylor, Weston, Kyei (Campbell-Ryce 62); Akinola (Sweeney 73), Akinde.
Subs: Vickers (GK), Gambin, Nicholls, Tutonda.
Plymouth Argyle: McCormick (c); Threlkeld, Songo’o, Bradley, Purrington (Miller HT); Fox, Tanner; Jervis (Smith 59), Carey, Slew; Garita (Goodwillie 69).
Subs: Dorel (GK), Bulvitis, Osborne, Rooney.
Referee: Nicholas Kinseley.
Attendance: 3,045 (1,119 Plymouth supporters).