Albion finished the season with successive home defeats but the day was all about Barnet as they secured a 2-1 victory at the Pirelli Stadium to guarantee another season in the Football League at the expense of Hereford United. As a game it ebbed and flowed with Barnet taking the lead through a deflected free kick scored by former Albion loan midfielder Mark Byrne as early as the sixth minute. An unerring strike from Jacques Maghoma had Albion back on level terms before half an hour was up.
Calvin Zola then won and missed a penalty and there was an element of good fortune about the winning goal for Barnet as referee Nigel Miller got in the way of a Brewers defender charging out to challenge which just opened up enough space for Mark Hughes to cap a captain's performance with a left foot shot the squeezed inside the upright to ultimately secure Football League status.
Following the success of the new look formation at Macclesfield last week and with all players reporting fit for action it was an unchanged side that came out to face Barnet for the final game of the season. The Bees knew that only a win would definitely secure their place in League 2 for next season but had to make do without leading scorer Izale McLeod who was only fit to take a place on the bench.
Albion almost got off to a perfect start as Barnet defender Jack Saville miskicked gifting the ball to Calvin Zola who form the edge of the area volleyed towards goal forcing a good save from Dean Brill who claimed at the second attempt.
Barnet though scored the opener on six minutes from a set piece. Adam Bolder was penalised for a high foot 25 yards out and there was more than an element of fortune as MArk BYRNE's low free kick took a wicked deflection, wrong footing Ross Atkins and rolling into the back of the net.
Neither side looked great defensively and there was almost a second for Barnet when Atkins miskicked a clearance against a Barnet attacker and as the ball rolled towards an empty net Patrick Ada got back to clear up and prevent any further embarrassment.
Jack Dyer had a chance to shoot on the quarter of an hour mark as some good passing around the Barnet penalty area exposed a gap but unlike his effort at Underhill earlier in the season his shot went high over the crossbar.
Albion continued to look the more composed side and andy Corbett wasunfortunate to see a driven cross cleared by an outstretched Barnet leg rather than being converted into a goal by a Burton leg. Calvin Zola was then close to an equaliser as he controlleds the ball well, bringing it down and turning to fire a low shot that was smothered by Brill to his right.
Burton's pressure continued to grow and they deservedly equalised on 27 minutes. Zola again did well working hard to recover a ball it looked like he had lost and after giving the ball to Jacques MAGHOMA he watched as his team mate skipped past a challenge on the edge of the area and drilled a low ball beyond the outstretched hand of Brill into the bottom corner.
Buoyed by the equaliser Albion quickly had a chance to go in front when Adam Bolder let fly from 25 yards with Brill taking two goes to cling onto the ball. Nerves clearly setting in with the Barnet defence as news filtered through of Hereford leading their crunch clash.
Three minutes before half time Albion had a superb chance to take the lead when Zola weas bundled over in the box when clovis Kamdjo missed Andy Corbett's cross. Mark Byrne's shove sent Zola to the ground and after begging to be allowed to take the penalty himself he wastefully skied the spot kick over the bar.
Half time: Burton Albion 1-1 Barnet
Barnet made a change for what was their biggest forty five minutes of the campaign. Veteran striker Scott McGleish made way as npower League 2's top scorer, Izale McLeod, was brought on to try and rescue Barnet's Football League status.
Strike partner Ben May quickly had a chance on the left side of the area but he was only able to find the side netting with an angled shot.
An even better chance for the Bees went begging on 51 minutes as Sam Deering was guilty of a bad miss. A teasing cross from the left went beyond the back post for Ben May to head back into the danger area. Tony James half cleared off the line to the feet of Deering who speared his shot wide of the post from no more than six yards.
Deering then went to ground under a shoulder to shoulder challenge from Nathan Stanton but with visiting fans screaming for a penalty referee Nigel Miller waved play on as the game became very open and attacking.
Barnet, desperate for another goal piled forward and they got a break on the hour mark. Ricky Holmes tricked his way into a crossing position. The ball was only cleared to the edge of the box and skipper Mark HUGHES managed to squeeze a left foot shot inside the post to put the Bees back outside of the relegation zone. The pendulum was swinging back in favour of the Hertfordshire side particularly as news came through that Hereford's lead had been cut to just one goal at Edgar Street.
Albion threw on Greg Pearson in place of Cleveland Taylor as they chased another equaliser but it was still Barnet pushing for another goal. It was Maghoma though who had the next real chance for Albion but from distance his speculative 25 yarder flew well over the goal.
It was then the turn of Jimmy Phillips to get his chance as he replaced Adam Bolder for the last fifteen minutes of the season.
After McLeod and Stanton were both booked for a coming together the Barnet striker then missed an excellent chance as he swivelled onto a low cross from Byrne only to scoop the ball over the bar from close range.
As always on final day there was late drama. Albion won a succession of corners and from the second one swung over by Chris Palmer former Bees defender Patrick Ada almost denied his former team their place in the League only for keeper Dean Brill to somehow get something on the ball ands deflect it wide of the post.
It was the last chance of the game and Underhill remains on Albion's itinerary for next season after this result condemned Hereford United to ther Conference.
ALBION: Atkins; Ada, James, Stanton; Corbett, Dyer, Bolder, Palmer; Maghoma, Taylor; Zola. Substitutes: Poole, Phillips, Pearson, Garnett, Clucas.
BARNET:Brill, Hughes, McGleish, Byrne, Deering, Holmes, Mustoe, Hector, Saville, Kamdjo, May. Substitutes: Yiadom, O'Brien, McLeod, N'Diaye, Downing.
Referee: Mr. N.Miller (County Durham)
GOALS: Burton - Maghoma (27); Barnet - Byrne (6), Hughes (60)