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RESERVE REPORT

Posted on 30 April 2007  - 12:00

Lee Barnard had the final word on our reserve season as we ended the campaign with a 1-0 win against Portsmouth at Stevenage Borough FC on Monday night. 

Lee Barnard had the final word on our reserve season as we ended the campaign with a 1-0 win against Portsmouth at Stevenage Borough FC on Monday night.

The striker made no mistake from Andy Barcham's cross on the half-hour to make it two goals in three starts having missed most of the season through injury and in doing so, secured a deserved victory against a Pompey side that gave their all but rarely threatened.

Indeed, the issue could and perhaps should have been put beyond doubt inside 20 minutes.

Determined to end on a high after a rare home defeat last time out, Clive Allen again opted for an adventurous formation with Barnard spearheading a four-pronged attack with Barcham and Academy winger David Hutton wide and Adel Taarabt just off the front.

It looked like it might be one of those nights for Barnard as four chances came his way in a 10-minute spell of dominance. He volleyed over from O'Hara's free-kick, did well to reach Archibald-Henville's cross but couldn't turn it on target, was in the right place when Barcham's effort cannoned off the inside of the post only for McCoy to head his return off the line and then side-footed just wide from Hutton's slide-rule pass.

The goal finally arrived on the half-hour. Charlie Lee’s raking pass released Barcham down the left, he reached the byline and cut the ball back for Barnard to apply the finish from close range.

The start of the second half was a scrappier affair as we struggled to find the same rhythm and were restricted to shots from distance - Barnard, Taarabt and O’Hara all tried their luck before O’Hara tested Begovic again on the hour, Hutton picked him out on the edge of the box and he shaped well to volley, the keeper taking low to his left.

Although our control of the game was never in doubt, the team's fluency was no doubt affected by the loss of Phil Ifil and Kieran McKenna to niggling injuries, Cian Hughton and Jake Livermore their replacements. Barcham also took a late knock, replaced by Tomas Pekhart.

Harris drilled a 25-yarder a couple of yards over for the visitors with 10 minutes left but Ben Alnwick didn't have a serious save to make and the final chance of 2006-07 fell to Barcham, who got on the end of O'Hara's inswinging free-kick but couldn't muster enough power to trouble Begovic.