Bees off to perfect start

Barnet 3 Forest Green Rovers 1 . . .

Barnet got their season off to the best possible start thanks to three quality second-half goals.

The Bees went in at the break a goal down but man-of-the-match Richard Graham levelled before striker Giuliano Grazioli sealed the points with a brace.

Captain Ian Hendon was delighted with the performance and had particular praise for those making their Conference debuts for the Bees.

Hendon said: "The new signings were brilliant. Everyone gelled and we just got stronger as the game went on.

"We looked a lot fitter than them and it could have been more."

Hendon said Graham always looked a threat and added he was pleased with the way Dwane Lee and Dean Sinclair controlled the middle of the park.

He also had praise for sub Tom Champion who looked calm when he was called into the action 15 minutes from time after an injury to Ismail Yakubu.

By then the game was sewn up thanks to an excellent second 45 minutes.

Barnet controlled the first half but created few clear-cut chances and were shocked when the visitors struck just before the half-hour.

A Darren Davies cross was flicked on by the head of Mark Beesley and Charlie Griffin arrived at the far post to slam home the ball from close range.

Steve Cowe had earlier forced Shane Gore to block a drive, but otherwise Barnet had been doing all the running without really threatening.

Lee had the best Barnet efforts in the final two minutes of the half. First he saw a hooked effort from a Graham cross cleared off the line and then saw a fierce drive flash across the goal from the edge of the box.

The Bees stepped up a gear after the interval and within the first few minutes Graham had put in some tantalising crosses that cried out for someone to be on the end of them.

The equaliser came on 50 minutes, the superb Graham pulling the ball down on the edge of the box and hitting a dipping volley into the roof of the net.

It was a quality strike and the goal lifted both the players and fans.

Within seven minutes Ben Strevens lifted the ball over the defence and Grazioli calmly rounded the keeper before tucking the ball into an empty net.

Liam Hatch was then denied by a Steve Perrin block after a fine run, and Strevens clipped the bar when put through when he perhaps should have squared to Hatch.

It was game over with 20 minutes to go. Graham freed Grazioli with a lovely ball over the top and his instant shot from the edge of the box found the bottom corner for another super finish.

The Forest Green defence was now being opened up with ease and it should have been more.

Sinclair blazed over at the far post from a Hatch cross and Strevens again clipped the bar with a quickly-taken free-kick from the edge of the box five minutes before the final whistle.

BARNET (4-4-2): Gore; Hendon, King, Yakubu (Champion 80), Clist; Sinclair, Graham, Strevens, Lee; Grazioli, Hatch.

Attendance: 1,321.

Best Bee: Richard Graham.

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