Green and McGeehan on target as Town beat Bees
Goals from Danny Green and Cameron McGeehan gave the Hatters a third successive victory in all competitions thanks to a 2-0 win at home to Barnet.
Green opened the scoring with a thunderbolt after Josh McQuoid, who delivered a man-of-the-match display, had tricked his way through the Bees defence.
The Town had numerous chances to double their lead, but it wasn’t until the 67th minute when McGeehan tucked home his eighth goal of the campaign that the game was safe.
The win puts the Hatters back into the top half, just one point away from the Play-Off places.
John Still gave Paul Benson his first start since August 22nd, one of four changes for the Town who also welcomed back Mark Tyler, Green and McGeehan from last week’s Emirates FA Cup victory at Crawley. Paddy McCourt and Sean Long were both given places on the bench having been involved on international duty on Friday evening.
The Hatters were on top in the early stages, but the slippery underfoot conditions made chances a premium, although Green and Alex Lawless – filling in at right back – proved a promising combination down the right flank.
Like the home side, Barnet were well up for providing an entertaining contest, and came close to an opening when Tyler’s slip allowed John Akinde to nip through, but the ‘keeper recovered sufficiently to pounce on the ball and relieve the danger.
From then on, the first half belonged to the Hatters. McQuoid’s pace caused the Barnet defence all sorts of problems, with the striker taking the ball down with an exquisite first touch before tumbling in the 23rd minute, but the claims for a penalty were waved away referee Darren England.
And the Town were ahead just two minutes later. McQuoid picked up the ball around 35 yards out, rocketing through three Barnet defenders before touching it off to Green, who lashed an exquisite strike into the top corner past a helpless Jamie Stephens from around 20 yards.
It was apt reward for a Hatters team full of vigour and determination in the first period, and they could have doubled their almost immediately when McGeehan’s long-range drive had Stephens scrambling, with the keeper just able to tip round the post.
The Barnet keeper was called to action yet again as Lawless’ enterprise down the channel helped him find McQuoid, whose header looked destined for the bottom corner until Stephens’ outstretched glove kept the visitors in the contest.
Josh Clarke ensured the Bees possessed a threat heading into half-time, a trait which carried on after the interval, but Scott Griffiths remained admirable in nullifying the danger, although the winger’s threatening cross should perhaps have been converted by John Akinde, but the striker could only touch wide.
The Hatters struggled to get going after the break, but almost doubled the advantage when a long throw was flicked to Smith who could only strike over when in just 10 yards from goal.
It looked as if the missed chances in the first half could plague the hosts, but McGeehan’s finish – making him the Town’s top scorer this term – relaxed a jittery Kenilworth Road. McQuoid’s sprint down the right was adjudged to be onside, and it looked as though the chance had gone when Smith couldn’t tap in the resulting cross, but McGeehan was on hand to profit on the leftovers to put the Town two to the good.
McQuoid, such a handful already in the afternoon, sniffed a third for his side when chasing down a lost cause, eventually cutting back to Smith who saw his effort flick off a Barnet boot and out for a corner as the game entered the final 20 minutes.
The Hatters introduced Jack Marriott in place of Benson, and the striker almost had an immediate impact in a counter attack for the hosts, only for Smith’s subsequent shot to drift harmlessly wide.
That proved to be the closest the Town came to finding a third, despite the efforts of Smith with another long-range strike, yet the Hatters were able to close out their fourth win in five meetings against the Bees.
Hatters: Tyler, Lawless, Cuthbert, Wilkinson, Griffiths, Green (sub O’Brien 82), Lee, Smith, McGeehan, McQuoid (sub McCourt 90), Benson (sub Marriott 78).
Subs not used: Potts, Long, Guttridge, Justham.
Attendance: 8497, including 612 from Barnet.