Boss Sarll de­mands a Boro home run

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Matt Wright

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.”

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