Burton Albion ground their way to a second successive goalless draw in npower League 2 but they undoubtedly had new goalkeeper Adam Legzdins to thank for a share of the spoils at Underhill. The summer recruit from Crewe showed immaculate handling throughout the game and in a game of few clear cut chances made sure of a second clean sheet in a row.
After the exertions at Cardiff City on Wednesday evening Brewers boss Paul Peschisolido opted to make just the one change to his side for the trip to Barnet. Club captain Darren Moore returned to the side with Lewis Young the unlucky man to drop out of the starting line-up. Moore's return to the heart of the defence meant a slight reshuffle with Tony James moving to the right back slot with Andy Corbett strill struggling with a thigh injury.
For the hosts, looking for a better campaign that last when they survived relegation on the final day of the season, there was to be no home debut against his former side for Steve Kabba. The striker picked up a knee ligament injury against Chesterfield last Saturday which is likely to keep him out for some time. There was however a reunion for Nottingham Forest midfielder Mark Byrne, now on loan at Underhill. The diminutive playmaker is now at Underhill on a long term loan deal.
The Bees had a first opportunity to score inside the first minute. A curling corner was fired goalwards by Glenn Poole but Adam Bolder was in the right place to block the effort at the expense of another corner.
It was midfielder Glenn Poole that had a chance to open the scoring in the 7th minute for the home side. Nathan Stanton and Tony James both went to challenge for the same header and when the ball broke loose behind them Holmes tried to lob Legzdins but put the ball too high. Albion quickly responded with their first opportunity and a shot on the turn from Greg Pearson, fifteen yards out took a faint deflection earning Albion their first corner.
Albion also caused problems for the Bees when a poor ball across the middle was cut out by Russell Penn in the 17th minute. The midfielder played a ball down the channel inside the penalty area for Shaun Harrad whose first time shot was blocked by skipper Anwar Uddin. With the Brewers coming more into the game after a slow start Greg Pearson tried his luck from distance in the 20th minute after Mark Hughes had trodden on the ball to lose possession. The striker's shot was on target but straight at keeper Jake Cole.
Stanton earned the first yellow card of the game in the 25th minute for a blatant obstruction on Mark Byrne but he was quickly followed into the book by John McGrath and Glenn Southam of the Bees. A full blooded challenge from the Brewers skipper in the centre of the park was not to the liking of Southam who raced across the pitch to remonstrate with both players going into the book.
McGrath almost found the back of the net moments later with an effort from the edge of the box that went just wide and with the game flowing from one end to the other Adam Legzdins had to be brave to save at the feet of Byrne whose initial shot had been half blocked by Darren Moore.
Legzdins also had to be alert when Ricky Holmes showed some trickery down the Barnet right, the Albion keeper doing well to get down and parry the low cross.
Poole flashed a cross through the box with nobody there to convert and Holmes fired a shot across the face of goal as Barnet tried to snatch a half time advantage but the sides went in level with Burton perhaps disappointed not to take more advantage of the infamous Underhill slope with precious few chances having come their way during the first period.
Half time - Barnet 0-0 Burton Albion
The Bees again started the brighter and Holmes was perhaps unlucky not to score after capitalising on a slip by Darren Moore. The striker cut inside na dhis left foot shot seemed destined for the bottom corner until Legzdins got something on it to divert it wide of the post. The keeper was also immaculate with another save moments later, this time at the feet of Byrne who was inches away from converting Southam's cross.
With Albion rocking the Brewers boss grasped the nettle and made two changes. Richard Walker was introduced in place of Greg Pearson to try and bring a focus to the attack and Lewis Young was brought on for John McGrath with Russell Penn moving into the centre of midfield to accommodate the right winger.
The Brewers did put the ball into the back of Barnet's net in the 61st minute from Darren Moore's towering header but referee Gavin Ward had already whistled for a push in the crowded penalty area.
The game went through a somewhat scrappy phase although Walker's introduction did seem to have the desired effect of improving Albion's attack. The next chance of any note fell to Hughes again at the other end though as he got his head onto a cross from Byrne but he was unable to direct his effort on target.
Walker was involved in a decent attacking move in the 74th minute timing his run well to get to the bye line and pull the ball back for Harrad but the striker snatched at the ball first time and blazed well over the bar.
Albion's new defensive resilience was tested again in the 78th minute as Barnet launched another cross in from the left. Mark Byrne got up well at the far post to head back into the centre and Russ Penn took the full force of Mark Hughes trying to get onto the end of the loose ball, the Albion midfielder requiring treatment for a blow to the head.
Shaun Harrad was not very far away from snatching three points for Paul Peschisolido's men when intellligent hold up play from Walker brought last season's top scorer into play but his low drive flew just past the far post. It proved to be the last clear chance of the game with Albion perhaps relieved to come away with a hard earned point on their travels.
BEES: Cole, Parkes, Hughes, Dennehy, Uddin, Southam, Holmes, Poole, Byrne, Marshall (Walsh, 62), Leach. Substitutes: Jarvis, Stimson, Cox, Kelly, Carpenter, Walsh, Kamdjo.
ALBION: Legzdins; James, Stanton, Moore, Boertien; Penn, Bolder, McGrath (Young 54), Webster; Harrad, Pearson (Walker, 54). Substitutes: Poole, Ellison, Phillips, Maghoma, Dyer.
Referee: Mr. G.Ward (Surrey)
Attendance: 1,655 (164 away)