Barnet suffered their third consecutive defeat of the season on Saturday, losing to local rivals Stevenage who played for an hour with ten men following the sending-off of Dale Gorman in the 35th minute.

The Bees spurned a number of chances in the first half which would have seen them equalise Tom Pett’s 27th minute opener, but a lack-lustre display in the second period would condemn Barnet to their first home defeat of the season.

Boss Rossi Eames selected the same line-up that started the EFL Cup tie at Brighton in midweek, with keeper Craig Ross making his league debut.

Midfielder Jonathan Smith should have given the visitors an early lead when he side-footed the ball over the bar despite being in a central position with the goal at his mercy.

Jean-Louis Akpa-Akpro made a powerful surge down the left for the Bees in the sixth minute only to run out of steam as he bore down on goal.

With Barnet midfield being over-run, Stevenage were having the better of the opening exchanges although the passing of both sides was often wayward.

It was no surprise when the visitors took the lead with almost half-an-hour gone, when following a corner from the left, Pett’s sweet volley found the net via an upright.

Ross then made a fine save from Fraser Franks as Stevenage pressed to extent their lead but a crude and reckless challenge by Gorman on Mauro Vilhete produced a straight red card as the game swung in Barnet’s favour.

The Stevenage goal was then put under sustained pressure, with defender Charlie Clough twice hitting the woodwork with headers. David Tutonda then hit a powerful shot that was parried by Joe Fryer while Shaq Coulthirst was guilty of failing to find the target on two occasions when good build-up play had set him free.

Barnet were unable to capitalise on their numerical superiority in the second period, with the visitors defending resolutely and the Bees lacking the guile to open them up.

Jack Taylor did see his effort from outside the box well saved by Fryer in the 52nd minute but this was a rare example of the Bees creating a genuine opportunity in the second half.

Stevenage substitute Ben Kennedy was now causing problems for the Barnet rearguard with his aggressive running with the ball, taking the play deep into Barnet territory and crucially away from the goal the home side were seeking to attack.

Substitute Ruben Bover added some poise to the Barnet midfield with just over an hour played but the Bees’ attacks were constantly found floundering when they encountered the well-drilled Stevenage defence.

This below-par performance by the Bees highlighted the extent to which John Akinde, last season’s top goal-scorer, is sorely missed with Barnet having failed to score in their last three matches.

Barnet: Ross, Santos, Clough, Tutonda, H.Taylor (Bover 62), J.Taylor, Fonguck (Akinola 73), Vilhete, Campbell-Ryce, Coulthirst (Amaluzor 66), Akpa-Akpro. Subs not used: Stephens, Kyei, Shomotun, Smith.