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Club News

We've Met Before: Stevenage

10 September 2020

A photo of Jason Walker
Jason Walker celebrates scoring the winning goal at Wembley for Barrow against Stevenage.
Club News

We've Met Before: Stevenage

10 September 2020

We take a look back on some of our previous meetings with this weekend's visitors.

We are sure that many people will remember our last meeting with Stevenage in May 2010.

Stevenage Borough, as they were then known, had won what is now the National League and were on their way to the Football League and we were all that stood between them and the non- league double in the FA Trophy Final at Wembley.

They took the lead through Adam Drury but goals from Lee McEvilly and Jason Walker saw us win the Trophy for a second time in a game that saw both sides reduced to ten men.

However, there are also six competitive meetings between the teams in what is now the National League to recall – Phil Yelland does the honours…

Owen Brown’s team had won the Northern Premier League Premier Division the previous season and hopes were high of a successful return to the top-flight on non-league football.

Stevenage had finished 15th in the Conference the previous season but had reached the FA Cup Fourth Round. They came to Holker Street on the opening day of the season and a crowd of 2,069 watched as a single goal from Carl Alford gave the visitors the points. Barrow had a number of new faces in the line-up that day but the biggest talking point was the continuing absence of title-winning keeper Steve Farrelly who was never to play for the Club again.

The return game on 17th April watched by 1,701 spectators two weeks before the end of the season and was very different. Stevenage were on course for a top-six place whilst we had been liquidated and were battling for survival on and off the pitch.

Five minutes before half time both sides went down to ten men as home defender Ross Harrison and Barrow midfielder Lee Prior were dismissed and early in the second half, Carl Alford gave the home side the lead from the spot. Barrow battled back and local striker Brian Dawson struck the equaliser before Ian Foster grabbed a precious winner.

Stevenage visited us at the end of August after we had made a good start to life back at the top level of the non-league game having won promotion through the Blue Square North play-offs under Dave Bayliss and Darren Sheridan.

We went into the game with only one defeat – at Cambridge United in our first five games. In contrast Borough were still looking for their first win of the season.

A crowd of 1,764 watched as we got the perfect start when Steve McNulty converted an 11th-minute penalty but on the half-hour a Steve Morison inspired visiting side levelled through Callum Willock and then, on the stroke of half time, Scott Laird put the visitors in front. They made sure of the points with fifteen minutes left after a blunder by Tim Deasy.

The return game at Broadhall Way watched by 2,205 fans in January was one for Barrow to forget and the 3-0 score line might have been much worse.

Barrow were reduced to ten men on 17 minutes when Andy Bond saw red for a two footed challenge on Lee Boylan and the only surprise was that it took the home side until the 39th-minute to take the lead through David Bridges.

Steve Morison added two goals in three minutes within ten minutes of the restart. Then, with Morison hunting his hat-trick, McNulty brought him down in what the referee considered to be a last man challenge and the big defender also saw red. Down to nine men with over half an hour to go, things looked bleak but we hung on to escape with only a three goal defeat.

Borough visited Holker Street on the second Saturday of the season and took a point in a drab 0-0 draw. Barrow had won on the opening day of the season at Cambridge United and then lost at home to Altrincham and the attendance of 1,254, whilst disappointing, was understandable.

The return game saw us visit what is now The Lamex Stadium on Tuesday 9th March – just four days before the first leg of our FA Trophy semi-final at Salisbury. It was the game that saw defender Paul Edwards make his Barrow debut but that was the only bright spot on a night where the home side won convincingly to go back to the top of the table ahead on Oxford United.

Their hero was pacey striker Yemi Odubade who opened the scoring on 29 minutes and completed a hat-trick with goals on the hour mark and six minutes from time. The other scorer on the stroke of half time in front of 1,538 fans was Scott Laird.

It seemed highly unlikely given that result that we would win the FA Trophy Final – almost exactly two months later but we did. F

Football is a funny old game.

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