Paul Fairclough, who has been put in temporary charge of the Bees, made several changes from the team who lost against Aldershot Town at Underhill on New Years Day, with Jordan Parkes and Mark Hughes coming into the side. There was also a rare start in the side for goalkeeper Tom Coulton, who replaced the injured Jake Cole, who missed his first competitive Barnet game since the end of his loan with the Bees with a few games remaining of the 2008/2009 season. It turned out to be a debut to forget for the 17 year old former Arsenal trainee.
Stevenage wasted no time in setting about their ways, as after just 4 minutes, Boro were in front. Stacey Young produced an in-swinging corner from the left hand side which wasn’t dealt with by Barnet, and Luke Foster was on hand to tuck the ball into the back of the net.
Just minutes later, Stevenage had doubled the lead in bizarre circumstances. Chis Day launched a long kick up the pitch which bounced over Bees defender Clovis Kamdjo’s head, and under pressure from just inside his own penalty area, Grant Basey failed to clear his lines, instead looping the ball over Coulton before nestling in the back of his own net.
If you thought Stevenage were going to give Barnet some rest bite, you were wrong. It was almost 3-0 after just 10 minutes, but Chris Beardsley could only shoot wide of Barnet’s goal.
Tom Coulton looked nervous throughout the match, but responded well when called upon after a Stacy Long corner again found the head of a team-mate, this time Michael Bostwick, but the young midfielder saw his effort well saved.
Stevenage did manage to grab a third goal after 27 minutes. A pinpoint cross from the right wing from Rob Sinclair found Stacy Long unmarked at the far post, who expertly volleyed the ball into the corner of the goal leaving Coulton with no hope of saving the shot. Some Bees fans were so angry at what they were witnessing, that they made their way back down the M1 home with over an hour of the match remaining.
It was 30 minutes before Chris Day was forced into making a save. Ricky Holmes made a promising run to the edge of Stevenage’s penalty area, trying to curl the shot into the corner, only for Day to push the ball back into play before being cleared by Lawrie Wilson.
4 minutes of injury time were shown at the end of the first half, and during this period, Michael Bostwick looked like he went into a challenge very recklessly on Sam Cox, but the referee Pat Miller took sympathy by awarding only awarding the midfielder a yellow card.
Some of the 834 travelling Barnet supporters booed the team off at half time, and Paul Fairclough responded to the abysmal display by replacing Kamdjo and Cox with Anwar Uddin and Mauro Vilhete.
However, within a minute of the restart, Stevenage got their fourth goal. Stacy Long launched a free kick from the halfway line into the penalty area, before Rob Sinclair headed the ball across the face of goal, leaving Mark Roberts with the very simple task of rolling the ball into the goal.
The next big chance came after 68 minutes, and again, it was Stevenage who created it. Chris Beardsley played a nice exchange of passes with substitute Yemi Odubade, before chipping the ball onto the head of the Nigerian striker, but Coulton managed to catch the ball with relative ease.
5 minutes later, Barnet grabbed a consolation goal totally against the run of play. Mark Marshall produced a good, weaving run along the right wing and played a great pass to Izale McLeod who slotted the ball into the goal. That was his fourth goal in three matches, his first away from home for the Bees.
Barnet looked more up to the task now. Jordan Parkes almost scored a cheeky goal from 35 yards, but his cross-come-shot was tipped over the bar by Day. From the resulting corner, Barnet did get their second goal. Mark Marshall's corner was poor but it rebounded back to him from a Stevenage defender, and the former Swindon Town Trainee brilliantly curled the ball into the top corner of the net.
Barnet might have had a chance seconds after the kick-off to reduce the deficit yet again, but the referee waved away the protests when Mark Marshall was seemingly up hauled inside the penalty area by Lawrence Wilson.
That was the last of Barnet’s chances, although Chris Beardsley managed to rattle the right up-right for Stevenage which would have given them a fifth goal.
Barnet eventually had to settle with the knowledge that they would be ending the day bottom of the Football League, due to the fact Hereford managed to beat Aldershot Town.
Next up for the Bees is a daunting trip to Valley Parade on Saturday. Meanwhile, Stevenage has the exciting prospect of welcoming Newcastle United in the third round of the F.A. Cup.
Man of the Match: Stacy Long
Bees Man of the Match: Izale McLeod