February 2012: BARNET 0 CITY 4 (Fagan pen 17, Atkinson 37, Reid 58, Wells 88)

IT’S very unusual for City to play on the extra day of a leap year.

Saturday’s home clash with Plymouth will be their first game on February 29 since a 1-0 win at Bury in 1992.

But this week’s nostalgia game goes back eight years to the end of February 2012 and an unexpectedly emphatic away win.

Phil Parkinson’s first season in charge was one of survival. Forget the memorable success that would follow; year one in the Valley Parade hot-seat was simply about staying in the league.

The stakes were high for a midweek trip to Barnet and two sides embroiled in the fight for a safety. City were five points above the drop zone, their hosts immediately above them.

Not surprisingly, it drew the Bees' lowest crowd of the season – but they witnessed City’s biggest victory on the road in a decade.

The Bantams were given an early helping hand by referee Roger East, who red-carded Barnet centre half Darren Dennehy for a professional foul on Craig Fagan.

It was probably Fagan’s best performance in a frustrating spell with the club as the former Hull striker ran the home defence ragged.

He got goal-side of Dennehy who sent him tumbling – and was sent packing by the official.

Fagan picked himself up to send Liam O’Brien the wrong way with his penalty and City were on their way.

They suffered a setback midway through the first half when skipper Michael Flynn had to limp off with a thigh strain. But replacement Will Atkinson would play his part.

Fagan latched on to a long ball from Luke Oliver with a lob over O’Brien that just bounced the wrong side of the post.

And they took a firm grip on proceedings eight minutes before the break when Atkinson claimed his first goal since signing on loan from Hull as he turned home Kyel Reid’s cross.

Parkinson stormed on the pitch after Reid burst clear but East pulled him back for a free-kick in City’s favour. But the night continued to go their way.

Izale Mcleod, the division’s leading scorer, barely got a sniff – and would end the game warring with a team-mate.

Frustrated Barnet boss Lawrie Sanchez had subbed his strike partner Ricky Holmes at half-time but that made little difference.

Marcel Seip’s header was a whisker away from making it three and then Reid weaved his way through Barnet’s ranks only to blaze a shot over the roof of the stand.

But the winger soon made up for that with a sublime finish to increase City’s lead.

Taking Fagan’s lay-off, Reid ran at Paul Downing and threw him off balance with a sway of the hips before drilling the ball into the far corner.

The Barnet centre half had been so embarrassed that he stood there with his shirt pulled over his head.

Parkinson withdrew Fagan to a standing ovation from the travelling fans – and some in the home stand – after a personal display his manager said “showed why he had played at a much higher level.” But Barnet’s misery was not done.

Nahki Wells took over up front and fired an early shot wide. But the sub still had time to get in on the act as he receive Rob Kozluk’s long pass and calmly strolled round O’Brien to tap into the empty net.

That was too much for Barnet and Mcleod, who had managed just one tame effort on goal all night, came to blows with defender Michael Hector.

East had to pull the warring home players apart as City relished a significant three points.

BARNET: O’Brien, Dennehy, Downing, Saville (Mustoe 49), Kamdjo, Hector, Byrne, Deering, Hughes, Mcleod, Holmes (Taylor 46).

CITY: McLaughlin, Kozluk, Oliver, Davies, Seip, Jones, Flynn (Atkinson 24), Ravenhill, Reid (Bullock 85), Smalley, Fagan (Wells 75).

REFEREE: Roger East