League Two rivals Barnet and Swindon Town have played out an entertaining 1-1 draw in the first leg of the Southern Regional Final of the 2011/12 Johnstone's Paint Trophy competition tonight.
Lawrie Sanchez's Barnet conceded first to Paolo Di Canio's Town, who were coming off the weekend's massive FA Cup win over Wigan Athletic, but managed to fight back to ensure that they are in with a chance of making it to Wembley with the second leg still to play.
Sanchez began the match with ten Englishman and one Northern Irish player in captain Mark Hughes whilst Di Canio had quite a cosmopolitan starting eleven for Swindon with four English, two Scots, an Italian, a Spaniard, two Irish and a Czech.
The opening goal came after a penalty area scramble following a Swindon corner which saw skipper Paul Caddis chip a dangerous ball to the back post for Aden Flint to head home late in the first half igniting the 1400 travelling Town fans.
But Barnet leveled in the 72nd minute when winger, and Man of the Match, Mark Marshall hung an enticing ball into the area from a free-kick for skipper Hughes to glance a header home which Town keeper Wes Foderingham could only slap further into his top left corner causing Underhill to erupt.
Barnet attacked regularly, particularly in the first half and then later in the contest, and often had the Swindon defence under pressure but Town actually had the better of the scoring opportunities throughout the match although neither keeper was genuinely threatened apart from the two goals.
The return leg will be at the County Ground on February 7 whilst Chesterfield and Oldham Athletic meet in the other two-legged final which kicks off on January 17 and concludes a day after the second Swindon v Barnet tie ahead of the Final at Wembley Stadium at the end of March.
Johstone's Paint Trophy Southern Regional Final first leg
Underhill Stadium, London - 3,915