Match report: Barnet 1 Exeter City 4

Clinical Grecians win 4-1 at Barnet

A superb away performance from Exeter City saw them put four goals past Barnet to leapfrog their opponents in the League Two table.

It was the Grecians fourth away win of the season and moved them up to 20th ahead of Tuesday night’s EFL Trophy tie against Chelsea at St James Park.

The Grecians, who have been guilty of not taking the chances they have created this season, were at their clinical best and, despite falling behind to an early John Akinde header, they didn’t panic and produced a rousing comeback to win thanks to goals from Jake Taylor, Lee Holmes, David Wheeler and Reuben Reid

Paul Tisdale made one change to the City side that drew with Grimsby Town as Robbie Simpson failed at late fitness test and was replaced in the starting line-up by Ollie Watkins.

Barnet manager Martin Allen recalled former Grecian Alex Nicholls at the expense of Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro and he lined-up alongside John Akinde in a 4-4-2 formation.

City had the first chance of the match as Lloyd James played a superb pass over the top of the Barnet defence to David Wheeler but the 26-year-old winger could not get the ball under significant control and lifted a snapshot over the top of the home crossbar.

Sam Muggleton then created a chance for Barnet with his trademark long throw, but Michael Nelson glanced his header wide.

City were then behind after 11 minutes as corner was swung into the area and John Akinde sent a bullet header into the net from eight yards.

Akinde was proving a constant threat throughout and Christy Pym had to be quickly off his line to stop the former Alfreton Town striker from getting his ninth goal of the season as he tried to race onto a long ball.

Akinde then knocked down a long ball into the path of Nicholls but the former Grecian fired a half volley over.

City responded as Lee Holmes sent a cross to the back post that Moore-Taylor headed off target, but Akinde then sent a similar effort wide at the other end seven minutes before the break

As City grew into their stride Holmes then found space on the left side of the box, produced a stepover but his shot to the near post was palmed away by Stephens.

And the Grecians were then back on level terms on 42 minutes as the ball fell to Jake Taylor, following a clever dummy from Pierce Sweeney, and the former Reading man fired an unstoppable shot, similar to the one he scored against Hull City in the EFL Cup earlier this season, into the top corner from 25 yards.

The Grecians finished the half on top with Reid setting up Watkins with a chance that he scuffed towards goal under pressure from the home defence.

City took the lead three minutes into the second half as a good forward run from Taylor got Wheeler in on the right side of the box and he played the ball on to Reid who unselfishly flicked the ball to Holmes who placed a shot past Stephens to finish off what was a great passing move.

The Grecians then made it 3-1 on 56 minutes as Watkins fired a shot from just inside the box that Jamie Stephens could only parry. Wheeler was quickest to the rebound and slid the ball home from close range.

Martin Allen tried to change things for Barnet by sending on Shaun Batt and Luke Gambin and Moore-Taylor had to be alert to clear an Akpa Akpro effort off the line as the game entered the final 20 minutes.

However, it was one of very few chances in the second half for the home side and the Grecians continued to look dangerous going forward. The win was then completed nine minutes before the end as Taylor dinked the ball past Watson who tripped him just inside the area. 

Referee Michael Salisbury pointed to the spot and Reid dispatched the penalty kick into the bottom for his first goal in City shirt and reward for what was a hard-working performance from the former Rotherham United striker.

Barnet (4-4-2): Stephens; Taylor, Dembele, Nelson, Vilhete; Campbell-Ryce (Akpa Akpro, 48), Watson, Weston, Muggleton (Batt, 61); Akinde, Nicholls (Gambin, 68). Subs not used: McKenzie-Lyle; N’Gala, Tomlinson, Taylor.

Booked: Akinde, Watson

Exeter City (4-4-2): Pym; Sweeney, Croll, Moore-Taylor, Woodman; Wheeler (Stacey, 72), James, Taylor, Holmes (Grant, 83); Reid (McAlinden, 85), Watkins. Subs not used: Olejnik, Oakley, Jay, Riley-Lowe.

Booked: Taylor

Attendance: 1,640 (360, away).