Stevenage came back from behind to pick up a point at Barrow in the opening weekend of the Sky Bet League Two season…
It was a tale of two penalties, as Dior Barrow opened the scoring for the Bluebirds early in the first half before Inih Effiong levelled matters with just minutes to go in the contest.
The hosts got off to the stronger start in the game with the first chance coming on 7 minutes - a dangerous ball across the six yard box for the dangerous Angus who stabbed it wide of Cummings’ goal. Stevenage had some bright moments, mainly through the persistence and play of Danny Newton but it was Barrow who looked the more likely to open the scoring and did so on 13 minutes, as Hutton tripped his man inside the penalty box which led to Angus sticking it away with aplomb.
The goal kicked Stevenage into life though and Alex Revell’s side would go on and have the better of the remainder of the half. Boro’s liveliest player of the half, Newton, saw a shot fly wide on 20 minutes courtesy of a deflection and it was Newton again who almost scored from the resulting corner, firing a close range effort at goal only to see it blocked by a Barrow man.
Barry headed wide from a rare Barrow foray forward and on 32 minutes it was Newton again who had the chance for Stevenage after taking down a long pass forward, but his right footed effort lacked any power and was a comfortable save for the opposition stopper.
Despite Boro finishing the half the stronger it was Barrow who came out the blocks quicker again after the break and Jamie Cumming was needed to keep Stevenage in the match on more than one occasion in the second half. First, the Chelsea loanee palmed over Jones’ vicious strike from the edge of the box during a good spell for the home side.
Arthur Read and Inih Effiong were both introduced into the action in the second half and both made a positive impact as Stevenage looked for a route back into the match. Read showed why Revell brought him in this week with his tenacious yet accurate and composed midfield performance whilst Effiong proved a handful for the Barrow defence and helped drive the team forward from the front.
Barrow had three good opportunities around the 65 minute mark as Beadling shot over following a clever backheel pass from inside the box before Cumming proved his worth again to deny Angus a second goal from a one-on-one chance. Former Stevenage player Kgosi Ntle then hammered a header against the post as Boro were living dangerously during a frantic 10 minute spell.
Stevenage would end the half in the ascendency though as they began to pin Barrow back and use the ball, waiting for the opportunity to strike. Prosser headed over on 77 minutes from an Osbrone corner and then, with 5 minutes to go, List raced onto Hutton’s pass behind the defence before being clipped by the defender, which gave the referee no choice but to point to the spot.
Up stepped Effiong, who sent the goalkeeper the wrong way just as Angus did earlier in the contest. A first EFL goal for Effiong who showed no signs of nerves.
Boro wanted more and could have got it during the closing minutes as the team pushed for a winner. In the end, a point away from home in the first game of the season was a satisfactory outcome following a remarkable few months for everyone at the Club.