Boss Sarll demands a Boro home run
AFTER watching Stevenage deservedly claim the spoils in this Hertfordshire derby, manager Darren Sarll challenged his side to replicate their brilliant away form on their own patch.
Luke Wilkinson’s goal made a happy short trip home for the visiting fans as the Boro leapfrogged Barnet into ninth spot, just one point behind seventhplaced Cambridge and the play-off places.
With Christmas just around the corner, Stevenage are used to the winning feeling on the road – this was their sixth away win on the spin – but they are without a victory in their last six home games in the league.
Sarll said: “We have definitely learned the value of winning after we starved ourselves for threequarters of a season, so any time you win is hard-earned and well-deserved.
“I’ve always tried to reduce the pressure on the players when we play at home, but now it’s time to go the other way.
“There is a pressure on us to win at home because we’ve put ourselves in a fantastic position where we can challenge Cambridge for a place in the playoffs. We’ve got no choice but to roll our sleeves up and get on with it.”
It took a brilliant strike to open things up in the 38th minute, as Boro’s Dale Gorman curled in superbly from outside the area to score his first goal for the club.
Barnet drew level when John Akinde won a penalty in the first minute of the second half, with Fraser Franks hauling him down, before calmly converting it himself.
But another fine finish restored Stevenage’s lead just past the hour mark, when Wilkinson steered Franks’ header from Steven Schumacher’s set-piece into the bottom corner.
Michael Tonge almost made certain of the result when his free-kick struck a post before bouncing behind off Jamie Stephens. Barnet interim manager Rossi Eames said: “We were a little bit slow in the first half to everything; giving the ball, wanting the ball and getting the ball back.
“But in the second half the attitude and the character in winning it back, to go and tackle, to be brave and get on the ball was much better.
“The main message at half-time was to be brave and I thought we were excellent in the second half. We pushed them, we created chances and it was more of a collective team performance.”