Ciaran McLoughlin is a Multimedia Sports Journalism student at UCFB Wembley. His aspiration is to work in the football industry and so this opportunity to write for The FA's websites was too good to turn down. Ciaran is part of the Young Reporters' Club.
Barnet booked their place in the third round of the Emirates FA Cup, after a hard fought 1-0 win against a battling Stockport County side.
With the trip from the Hive to Wembley only being three stops away on the Jubilee line, both sides came into the game after causing some big upsets in the previous round, dreaming of a cup run.
- The Emirates FA Cup
- Second Round Proper
- Sunday 2 December 2018
- The Hive, Barnet FC
- Winning clubs receive £54,000 from prize fund
The Stockport fans appeared to outnumber the home crowd and were making their voices heard as the game kicked-off.
But it was Barnet who dominated the early stages of the game, winning a free-kick within the first three minutes which was struck perfectly by Dan Sparkes only for it to go just wide.
Sparkes didn’t have to wait long to get yet another chance, when Cheye Alexander lopped in a threatening ball, which Barnet’s number eleven put away with a powerful header to give the hosts an early lead.
Although defensively, the Hatters looked vulnerable, they were causing all sorts of problems to the Bees on the break, but were lacking a clinical edge to finish the chances they had.
Other than a chance being cleared off the line and half-appeals for a Byron Harrison penalty, Barnet were offering little to add to their lead, which was far from secure, as the visitors grew more and more into the game.
The game got really lively as it entered into first-half stoppage time, with both sides looking to add what would be a vital goal, but neither could show what was needed in the final third.
As the noise grew from the County fans, so did their side’s momentum, as they put together some neat attacking moves at the start of the second half and even had a half-appeal themselves for a penalty when Adam Thomas went down.
Stockport really should have had an equaliser in the 63rd minute, when Mark Cousins spilled the ball to Frank Mulhern, only for him to somehow poke the ball wide.
Even though the Hatters are a league below, they were very much controlling the final 20 minutes causing a response from manager John Still to push his Barnet side forward as they were playing extremely deep.
The equaliser felt like it was coming as Stockport were creating chance after chance and not allowing the Bees to string a pass together, but in the end they couldn’t make their dominance count.
Barnet are rewarded for their efforts with a place in the third round as the Premier League and Championship sides enter the frame. Stockport on the other hand may be out, but after a performance like that, can have their heads held high.