Dave Challinor’s well-organised Stockport County side stormed through a deflated Barnet as they triumphed 5-0 at the Hive on Saturday afternoon.
By Aaron Jaffe
County retain top spot in National League
The Hatters made it nine on the bounce, and proved that they do ‘love to win away’. The fans made the trip in great numbers, all 769 in full noise for the duration of the match in the belief that the journey to the Football League is on.
Scott Quigley made an immediate impact on his return drawing a foul from Reiss Greenidge who was subsequently booked six minutes in.
A disaster start for Teddy Howe's Barnet career played Quigley in, finding County’s target man Paddy Madden but was intercepted at the last second by a sliding Greenidge.
Quigley, Antoni Sarcevic and Madden all posed an attacking threat throughout the first half being brought down constantly on the counter-attack, and Bees’ Harry Taylor was the next man in the book only 20 minutes in.
Greenidge was lucky to not see red after bringing Will Collar down in the same position he received yellow for earlier on. Ryan Rydel’s free-kick struck the crossbar but couldn’t quite break the deadlock.
Stockport’s first clear opportunity came off a brilliant chance for Barnet as Daniel Powell was brought down centimetres from the box. Rob Hall’s free-kick was cleared quickly and Macauley Southam-Hales’ quick ball to Ryan Croasdale put him one-on-one with Aston Oxborough.
Oxborough did superbly to tip the shot onto the crossbar and there was an appeal for another penalty when former Bolton man Antoni Sarcevic was floored on the follow-up.
But the tally was opened in the third minute of injury time when Macauley Southam Hales drove into the box, looping the ball to Will Collar whose header saw the net after a slight deflection. An unfortunate goal for the Bees to concede, but not more than they deserved.
Stockport did what Chesterfield proved they could do against Barnet too, scoring so soon after the restart. Ryan Rydel’s corner found Ryan Johnson who lost his marker too easily and his header made it two for the Hatters.
15 minutes later saw three as some good work by Southam-Hales meant Rydel had another chance to assist off a corner. Captain Liam Hogan soared above his marker at the front post and smashed it past Oxborough who was helpless in the Barnet net.
The story of the game echoed throughout the final 20 minutes, with Barnet losing possession and County winning every duel possible. Connor Jennings, Oli Crankshaw & John Rooney were brought on as reinforcements to add to the deficit.
Injury time again was Barnet’s nightmare as an avoidable quick free-kick by Rooney caught the excellent Sam Beard by surprise and Connor Jennings took a beautiful touch and slotted it across goal to create more woes for Dean Brennan’s side.
Stockport kept piling the pressure and it proved fatal again, this time Collar colliding in the box before Crankshaw was tackled in the area again to the dismay of the loud County fans behind the goal.
The rebound found danger man Ryan Rydel and his cross was met again by the super-sub Jennings whose header was palmed by Oxborough onto the post a minute before the end of play but sneaked in as the 769 travelling fans ran to embrace their goalscorer.
Dave Challinor’s side come out in a great position, leading the pack ahead of Halifax, Chesterfield and Borehamwood. Barnet do not have the best of months ahead, playing eight times due to fixture rearrangements but have seen off the worst in Chesterfield & Stockport back to back. They do have one enticing clash, a Tuesday night away at Notts County. Whether they can get back on track, time will tell.