Stevenage end their 2022/23 Sky Bet League Two campaign on a high note with a victory in Barrow...
Stevenage made the long trip north to Barrow for one last dance in Sky Bet League Two after confirming automatic promotion the weekend prior. Steve Evans made seven changes to the promotion-securing starting eleven as Przybek, James-Wildin, Taylor, Campbell, Horgan, Tomkinson and Forster-Caskey all made the rotated side. 18-year-old Theo Alexandrou, 17-year-old Rylee Mitchell and 16-year-old Makise Evans made the bench.
It was quite an open five minutes to kick the game off with Boro creating a flurry of half chances, but former Stevenage goalkeeper Paul Farman was barely threatened as Barrow cleared their lines.
The Bluebirds had a sight on goal just after ten minutes as they were awarded a free kick not too far outside the area. Ben Whitfield was the man to take, but he blasted his effort over the bar.
When Stevenage were in possession, they looked to play good football despite the wet conditions. Daryl Horgan cut onto his right foot before sending a teasing ball into the box, but it went over everyone and out for a goal-kick.
Minutes later, Barrow were briefly on the front foot as they looked to take the league. A Stevenage clearance fell right in the path of Robbie Gotts whose powerful volley sailed wide.
After twenty-five minutes, Stevenage took a deserved lead. Max Clark’s right-footed cross was headed out to Jake Reeves on the edge of the area as he took a touch and fired calmly into the bottom left corner with his weaker left foot to grab his fourth goal of the season.
The remainder of the half was far slower in pace as Boro looked to hold onto their lead and go into the break with the advantage. In the final stages of the half, Jake Forster-Caskey had a minor altercation with Barrow keeper Paul Farman with both men receiving yellow cards.
Two minutes into the second half, Evans was forced to make his first change of the game as Dean Campbell went down with a knock and was replaced by Alex Gilbey in midfield.
Stevenage seemed fairly in control over the next fifteen minutes as they had their one-goal advantage with the pressure of promotion, thanks to last week’s efforts, off their shoulders.
Boro then made their second substitution of the afternoon as Jake Taylor made way for Jamie Reid, with Daryl Horgan stepping back into midfield after playing the first hour alongside Danny Rose up top.
With over twenty minutes to play, The Bluebirds had their best chance of the game. Two close-range efforts, with the second being an overhead kick, were superbly denied by Adam Przybek, leaving Barrow supporters stunned.
Up the other end moments later, Daryl Horgan played in Jamie Reid who did all the hard work before slicing his effort wide of the mark.
Evans then made a triple substitution, bringing on Makise Evans, Jordan Roberts and Kane Smith for Danny Rose, Daryl Horgan and Luther James-Wildin with ten minutes to play.
Boro did their job in seeing out the victory as the fourth official held up an additional four minutes. Jamie Reid had one final effort of the season, but his shot was dragged wide.
Eventually, Stevenage heard their final whistle of the 2022/23 League Two campaign, taking home all three points in the process. It was an enjoyable afternoon for Boro, as the pressure was off and they were able to say goodbye to Sky Bet League Two in the right way. The players then applauded the 425 travelling fans, who will be in high anticipation for Sky Bet League One next season.
Attendance: 4034 including 425 away supporters.