MATCH REPORT: BARNET 1, STEVENAGE 2
Stevenage made it six consecutive away wins in Sky Bet League 2 with a 2-1 victory away at Barnet this afternoon.
A first half strike from Dale Gorman and a second half volley from Luke Wilkinson secured all three points for Stevenage against a Bees side that equalised moments into the second half from the penalty spot.
Darren Sarll made five changes from last weekend’s defeat at Blackpool with returns from injury for Jamie Jones and Kgosi Ntlhe and returns to the starting XI for Matt Godden, Rowan Liburd and Dale Gorman.
Both sides had early opportunities to create chances with Matt Godden seeing a cross blocked from the left and Elliott Johnson seeing a fourth minute free-kick deflect over. However soon enough Boro would start to dominate the ball, something which would continue for the rest of the half.
Dale Gorman dragged an eighth minute shot wide and Rowan Liburd headed over from Henry’s cross two minutes later as chances came Boro’s way. Matt Godden then went close on 13 minutes when he turned smartly on the edge of the box but saw his fierce shot saved by Jamie Stephens.
Schumacher and King looked in imposing form in the middle of the park and their work often gave Boro the chance to win the ball inside the Barnet half and set Darren Sarll’s men on the attack once again.
On the quarter of an hour Liburd found Godden on the left. He took the ball past his defender and fired across Stephens, with the advancing Schumacher just unable to get onto it.
Stevenage continued to dominate, with Barnet’s only other chance of the opening 30 minutes coming when Bira Dembele rose to meet a corner in trademark fashion but headed wide under pressure.
A weaving run deep into the Boro half from right-back Jack Taylor after 33 minutes nearly created danger for the visiting defence and that seemed to spark the Bees fans into life. Instead though it was the travelling Stevenage fans who were soon celebrating as they took a deserved lead.
A ball forward saw good close control by Godden and when the striker laid the ball into Dale Gorman’s path, the Northern Irish Under-21 international bent a curling effort just inside the far post from 25 yards for a spectacular first senior goal.
Stephens punched a Schumacher free-kick clear as Boro looked to add a second before the break. Luke Gambin then forced a simple save from Jamie Jones with a shot from distance during two minutes of added time.
Barnet made a double sub at the break and then drew level seconds into the second half, when John Akinde went down in the box under pressure from Fraser Franks. The referee awarded the penalty and Akinde sent Jones the wrong way for 1-1.
From that point on the hosts really applied some pressure but just couldn’t break down Boro’s stubborn defence.
However cometh the hour, cometh Stevenage’s second with both centre-backs involved. Schumacher swung a free-kick into the box, Franks headed across and Luke Wilkinson volleyed home to send the visiting fans wild behind the goal.
Jones saved from Akinde on 68 minutes, whilst at the other end Boro went close to a third when Franks headed sub Michael Tonge’s free-kick back across goal, but the Bees scrambled it clear.
With 14 minutes remaining Barnet thought they’d pulled level when good play down the right and a cut-back saw what looked an easy chance for sub Akpa Akpro, however Ronnie Henry appeared from nowhere to put in a magnificent block and save Boro.
With five minutes remaining Tonge rattled the wordwork with a free-kick that hit the post and bounced behind off the ‘keeper’s head.
The fresh legs of Charlie Lee and Jobi McAnuff came on to help Boro in the closing stages and they saw out the five added minutes expertly to record another win on the road.
Next up it’s Cambridge at home on Boxing Day. Tickets for that game can be purchased at www.borotickets.co.uk.
Barnet: Stephens, Taylor, Nelson, Dembele, Johnson, Vilhete, Weston, Watson (Nicholls 46), Gambin (Kyei 80), Mason-Clark (Akpa Akpro 46), Akinde
Subs not used: Vickers, Sesay, Muggleton, Fonguck
Stevenage: Jones, Henry, Wilkinson, Franks, Ntlhe, Pett, King, Schumacher (Tonge 70), Gorman (McAnuff 83), Liburd, Godden (Lee 89)
Subs not used: Day, McKirdy, Cowans, Kerr
Referee: Lee Swabey
Attendance: 3,228 (547 away)