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LDV Vans Trophy
By Iain Dalziel of This is Bees
Barnet finally ended their poor home record against Stevenage, recording a 3-1 victory to take them into the 2nd Round of the LDV Vans Trophy.
The Bees changed the starting eleven completely, giving debuts to several unfamiliar names and also a first appearance of the season for veteran defender Danny Maddix. Perhaps the clearest indication that this wasn't the Bees strongest of sides was the fact that only eight of the sixteen selected players were listed on the match programme!
However, three were new players signed in the afternoon. At right back Barnet played ex-Norwich man Damian Batt, with Portuguese defender Helder Valdez on the left. Also new at the club was former Arsenal trainee Mark Stanton, although he remained as an unused sub throughout.
Stevenage however chose a better side. Though they too had academy players they also had one of the best forwards in the league, Anthony Elding.
On paper it looked as if Stevenage we're going to once again get a good result at Underhill. However, Barnet's young underdogs more than rose to the challenge.
The game was not played at much of a pace throughout and the start was no different. It took a while before the teams settled down and began to create chances.
The Bees were creating the more dangerous. Mis hit efforts from the likes of McBean and Bailey sent a warning to Boro. In the first half Stevenage created very little, but still looked strong going forward. Barnet were playing the better of the two, but the inexperienced side were not making their chances count.
By the time half time came the game had gone a bit flat, if it carried on in that way extra time was every bit possible.
The home side began the second half the stronger. Stevenage looked very unadventurous as Barnet pressed forward.
After causing Stevenage no real problems in the opening ten minutes of the second half, Barnet finally got a golden opportunity. The impressive Nicky Bailey got through one on one, but as he rounded the 'keeper he was brought down and the referee gave a penalty. The ginger midfielder stepped up himself. With the pressure on the nineteen year old calmly dispatched the ball home, sending the Boro goalkeeper the wrong way. This was Barnet's first ever goal at hoe to Boro and was appreciated with great celebrations from the slightly modest Underhill crowd.
However, the goal gave Stevenage the boost they needed and the side from just up the A1 equalised just two minutes after going behind. A good run down the left ended with a low ball going across the box. It was passed on by young Jo Flack to Elding who tapped into the empty net to draw Boro level.
Straight after the goal Stevenage started to get forward more and it looked as if the floodgates could open. However, the Barnet defensive partnership of young Champion and experienced Maddix held strong and didn't allow Stevenage a quick fire second.
After an initial burst Stevenage calmed down again and barnet once again looked to be in control. The impressive Warren McBean was subbed by Fairclough who brought on another exciting prospect, Bradley Garness. The sub was soon given a chance to shine when he was put through on goal. His showed great pace to get in front of the Boro defender, but his low shot was well saved by the 'keeper's right foot.
With little time remaining it looked as if it was to be extra time and then maybe penalties. Yet seven minutes from time a flash of brilliant individual skill saw Barnet go back in front. Nicky Bailey skipped past two Stevenage players before taking a touch and then firing the ball past the outstretched goalkeeper and into the bottom corner.
This time Boro failed to respond and looked to be almost out of ideas. Barnet however carried on going and were rewarded in a stoppage time with a third. A good ball across the box was received by Roache who hit it first time past the 'keeper on the edge of the six yard box.
Two minutes later the whistle blew and brought an end to a very good night fro Barnet. The Bees side was nowhere near full strength, but they did the club, fans and, clearly by his reaction at the end, Paul Fairclough. Many of the youngsters were impressive. With so many good young players in the youth team maybe Fairclough's right in not having a huge first team squad. Stevenage will be bitterly disappointed after their bad start to the season the LDV could've been a welcome distraction.
Yet it's (on the night) a very un-fancied Barnet who progress and have the prospect of a game against league opposition to look forward to.
Iain Dalziel's Man of the Match
Nicky Bailey, not just for his goals - he was excellent throughout and showed signs of real promise. He wasn't the only impressive youngster. I thought that Warren McBean, James Elmes and Tom Champion all looked good too.
Tynan, Batt, Maddix, Champion, Valdaz (Samuels 44), Dobson, Lopez, Bailey, Elmes, Roache, McBean (Garness 65)
Unused subs: Levi, Stanton, Viner
Croudson, Schillaci, Stewart, Williams, Shadrack, Hodgson, Lamapraft, Quinn, Elding, Black, Hunter
Unused subs: Brennan, Lewis, Batt, Vooht
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