ALTRINCHAM 1, BARNET 1
Altrincham’s home National League game against Barnet may have been a dead rubber, but it was certainly not lacking in entertainment.
The lower mid-table clubs served up a hugely watchable spectacle at Moss Lane, the only surprise there weren’t more goals.
Both sides struck the woodwork twice and there was an abundance of chances, Dan Mooney putting Altrincham ahead midway through the opening period before Adam Marriott euqlised early in the second half.
Altrincham, who have lost only twice in their last 10 league matches, are certainly finishing the season strongly as they are 14th.
Barnet, who extended their unbeaten run to three matches, are also finishing well as they remain four places below the Robins.
There was an incident-filled opening in which the only surprise was it took until the 22nd minute to break the deadlock.
Ryan Colclough had three great chances in the first 12 minutes, the last one forcing a fine save from Belgium goalkeeper Aymen Azaze.
And from the corner which followed the last opening, Toby Mullarkey’s header was brilliantly turned on to the crossbar by Azaze.
Colclough also set up Mooney whose shot struck the top of the upright as it was providing frustrating.
Barnet also had a great chance when Mullarkey, trying to cut out a cross from Ephron Mason-Clark, diverted the ball on to the upright. As the ball rolled along the goalline, Mullarkey saved the day with a timely clearance.
The breakthrough came with a wonderfully crafted goal by Mooney, his 12th of the season.
The Welshman cut in from the right, played a return pass with Kole Hall before bending a shot low past Azaze, a sumptuous finish.
Barnet would have equalised but for a fine reflex save from Tony Thompson to deny Mason-Clark following a free kick.
Late in the opening period, Altrincham had chances to build on their lead as Colclough was denied by Azaze and Mullarkey’s header was cleared off the line as the only surprise was the opening period yielded only one goal.
The Bees struck the frame of the Altrincham goal for a second time early in the season half.
Mason-Clark saw his shot from Daniel Powell’s low left-wing cross crash against the crossbar before being scrambled to safety.
The visitors were rewarded with a 53rd minute equaliser, a terrific 30-yard drive from Marriott which swerved and dipped over keeper Thompson.
It was the 31-year-old striker’s 16th goal of the season and his fifth in the last four matches.
The final half hour failed to match the opening hour, though Hall had a great chance to snatch victory at the death as his 88th minute header drifted narrowly wide.