Much-improved Barnet run League One MK Dons close before Jerome arrival settles FA Cup tie
FA Cup 2nd round
Barnet 0 MK Dons 1
Former Birmingham City, Norwich and Crystal Palace striker Cameron Jerome came off the bench to end Barnet’s brave bid to reach the third round of the FA Cup.
The 34-year-old is a handy man to have in your ranks when you need to find a goal from somewhere and he turned in a low cross from fellow sub Scott Fraser to settle the tie 10 minutes from the end.
Barnet’s start to the league campaign has been so patchy that the FA Cup has taken on added importance in these early months of the new season, and they played as if it mattered.
They went into the game on the back of three defeats and a draw since their victory over Burton in the previous round, and the prospect of repeating that first-round win seemed to put an extra step in the Bees’ pace.
In the opening moments, Ephron Mason-Clark was testing MK keeper Lee Nicholls at his near post with a powerful drive, but as the game wore on, the visitors’ superior status began to show and their sharper touches and crisper passing created chances.
Regan Poole crashed a shot against the underside of the Barnet bar, Harry Taylor flung himself in the way of an Andrew Surman shot and Stephen Walker skied over from close range after a smart move had sliced Peter Beadle’s men open.
MK Dons had wily operators within their ranks like skipper Dean Lewington and fellow defender Richard Keogh, but Barnet had willing chasers and bags of determination to make it a battle to the very end.
Their unstinting effort led to the departure of Michael Petrasso with a hamstring strain early in the second half during a good spell for the hosts when they managed to apply a bit of pressure.
Mason-Clark came close to putting Barnet in front, but failed to make proper contact with an attempted overhead kick attempt from an Anthony Wordsworth cross and JJ Hooper might have done better with a glancing header. Alexander McQueen’s free-kick to the near post almost caught out Nicholls.
But MK dons picked up the pace again and Carlton Morris bent a shot just wide before former Premier League striker Jerome came on to try and break the deadlock and break it, he did.
Barnet: Loach – McQueen, Taylor, Nugent, Binnom-Williams – Petrasso (Faal 58), Dunne, Wordsworth – Fonguck (Vasiliou 80), Mason-Clark – Hooper. Subs not used: Pascal, Connors, Callan, Tompkins, Hernandez