Scowen stretchered off as Murphy wins final friendly

Josh Scowen

Josh Scowen

First published in Sport Bucks Free Press: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

PETER Murphy scored an opportunistic winner as Blues finished their pre season campaign with a victory at Barnet, but Josh Scowen had to be stretchered off.

Murphy took advantage of a poor clearing kick from Graham Stack to open his goalscoring account for Wanderers, lobbing home over the out-of-position goalkeeper.

But Blues fans at Barnet’s new Hive ground will have been concerned at the sight of star midfielder Scowen departing on a stretcher after getting injured in what appeared to be an innocuous clash.

Murphy’s strike was the undoubted high point of a game that exploded into life with chances aplenty at both ends before petering out the longer it went on.

Bondz N’Gala didn’t get enough purchase on an early header and could only glance it the wrong side of the post, before Matt McClure flicked a long ball from Joe Jacobson into Paul Hayes’ path and his lobbed shot required a good save from Stack.

The resulting corner was only half cleared but Aaron Pierre could only head the ball wide when it was returned to the penalty area by Nicky Walker.

Pierre impressed in more familiar surroundings, blocking a cross from former Wanderers loan favourite John Akinde with Charlie MacDonald primed to tuck the ball home from close range.

But the central defender was off target again from close range as Walker, signed on loan from Rotherham on Thursday, sent in an inch-perfect cross with his weaker left foot.

Barnet were giving Blues the workout manager Gareth Ainsworth wanted as Akinde beat the offside trap and bore down on goal, but he clipped his shot on the run agonisingly wide of the far post with just Matt Ingram left to beat.

The game was played at the pace of a competitive fixture but the final ball from both sides was often lacking, as crosses in to target man Akinde were either too high or too far in front of the striker.

MacDonald skewed an effort off target at the start of the second half, although he was offside when collecting Curtis Weston’s flicked header, before Hayes tried his luck from distance and saw his shot dip onto the roof of the net.

But things took a turn for the worse from a Blues perspective as Scowen picked up a potentially serious injury in an innocuous coming together with an opponent and the midfielder had to be taken off on a stretcher.

Max Kretzschmar replaced him, while Aaron Holloway – who played as a trialist for Wanderers earlier in pre season – was given another run-out as he came on for McClure.

The Bees thought they had taken the lead as Sam Muggleton netted at the second time of asking after Ingram had blocked his initial effort, but the referee blew for a foul on Akinde as the ball fell for him.

And minutes later came further proof that fortune was smiling on Wanderers took the lead. Stack sliced a clearance straight to Kretzschmar, who laid the ball sideways for Murphy to nonchalantly lob over the red-faced keeper into the top corner.

The former Accrington man fired a shade too high after Sido Jombati made a good interception and fed the midfielder, before Danny Rowe made a fine block to deny MacDonald down the other end as Barnet responded.

Wanderers: Ingram, Jombati, Pierre, Doherty (sub Rowe), Jacobson, Walker (sub Cowan-Hall), Scowen (sub Kretzschmar), Murphy (sub Bloomfield), Wood, McClure (sub Holloway), Hayes (sub Craig). Substitutes not used: Richardson, Morias, Evans.

Attendance: 648

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