Goalless draw between Boro and the Bees
Stevenage and Barnet shared a point apiece after a goalless draw at The Lamex Stadium this afternoon.
Chances were few and far between in a game which saw plenty of endeavor and glimpses of quality, but little in the way of clear-cut opportunities on goal.
Teddy Sheringham handed debuts to Luke Wilkinson and new Derby loanee Offrande Zanzala, with Aaron O’Connor also given his home debut. Dean Wells was back from injury and joined the subs along with new Nottingham Forest loanee, Lithuanian winger Deimantas Petravicius.
Michael Tonge curled an free-kick straight at Jamie Stephens after just two minutes in an early chance for Stevenage, who otherwise had to withstand a rather bright start from their hosts.
Chances would prove at a premium in this game however, with Boro’s best probably coming in the 13th minute when a poor ball back towards Stephens saw O’Connor nip in, but his prodded effort trickled just wide of the far post.
On his professional debut Offrande Zanzala was enjoying a decent physical battle against Bira Dembele and Bondz N’Gala and looked lively with the ball at his feet. On a number of occasions he looked to have the beating of his man, but was thwarted by decent tackles, with a header on 22 minutes also glanced wide.
Several injury breaks didn’t help the flow of the game with Barnet having to make two subs in the first half – Togwell and Hoyte both forced off.
With five minutes of the half remaining O’Connor and Zanzala linked up through the middle but the ‘keeper beat the latter to the ball by a split second and the chance was gone.
Stevenage began the second half brightly with Zanzala brilliantly rolling his man on 49 minutes and getting away only for Dembele to recover with a trademark tackle. A minute later Michael Tonge found himself on the end of a cross into the box but could only head straight at Stephens.
Boro were asking the Barnet defence plenty of questions but whatever they tried, the visiting defence stood firm. With the host defence doing the same - Luke Wilkinson was enjoying an impressive debut - it lead to a war of attrition in the middle of the park, not helped by the referee’s whistle blowing for constant infringements.
On the hour the Bees created their best chance of the game when Batt found Hackett in space just inside the box, but the winger blazed over after assessing his options and deciding on the shot.
Having put in a fantastic 65 minutes on his debut, Zanzala went down with cramp and was soon replaced by Dipo Akinyemi with Tom Conlon on 10 minutes later for Charlie Lee.
Boro twice blazed over, one from a Tonge free-kick and another from Keane just inside the box whilst at the other end Chris Day produced a wonderfully timed punch to clear Barnet pressure when the visitors sensed a late goal.
Both sides looked to create late opportunities but were again thwarted, despite six minutes of additional time, leaving the two sides to share the points in a game which won’t live long in the memory.
Stevenage: Day, Henry, Franks, Wilkinson, Ogilvie, Tonge, Keane, Pett (Petravicius 90), Lee (Conlon 77), O’Connor, Zanzala (Akinyemi 66)
Subs not used: Jackson, McCombe, Wells, Gorman
Barnet: Stephens, Hoyte (Randall 42), Johnson, Dembele, N’Gala, Weston, Gambin, Togwell (Sesay 29), Champion (Taylor 68), Batt, Hackett
Subs not used: McKenzie-Lyle, Shomotun, Tomlinson, Muggleton
Referee: Iain Williamson
Attendance: 3,801 (943 away)