Stevenage 2 Chesterfield 2

09:09 12 March 2012

Scott Laird

Scott Laird

Archant

Boro come back from 2-0 down to earn a draw at home to Chesterfield

Stevenage 2 Chesterfield 2

npower League 1

Gary Smith says Stevenage must improve on their home form after watching his side drop two points at home to Chesterfield.

The draw sees Stevenage slip further off the League 1 play-off places and they are now five points behind Notts County after the Magpies’ 4-2 win at league leaders Charlton Athletic on Saturday.

Stevenage have 13 matches left – eight at home – in which to catch Keith Curle’s side and overtake them, but speaking after Saturday’s match at the Lamex Smith said his side needs to control matches at home if they want to make up the ground on their rivals.

“This is a Chesterfield side that are fighting for their lives, but if we’re going to give ourselves the best possible opportunity of getting in the play-offs then we have to be imposing ourselves at home on these teams,” Smith said afterwards.

“I thought there were a lot of qualities in the Chesterfield side in the first half, they looked very physically capable, a lot of the area battles they won. In fact the first goal came from that... but this is a game that we have to try to take control of.

“We’re the home team, we want to be on the front foot, and we should be making the running and today was the case and we’re [left] recovering again.”

Saturday’s result also made it five league games without a win for Stevenage as Boro scored two goals in the space of 90 second-half seconds to come back from 2-0 down.

After the thrills and spills at White Hart Lane last week, Boro were two goals down by half-time as the Spireites’ plan to attack early, and in numbers, paid dividends for John Sheridan’s side.

Second-half changes saw Stevenage fight their way back into the game and goals from Scott Laird, from a corner, and Craig Reid, from a Laird cross, saw Smith’s men steal a point from a seemingly improbably position.

There was no place in the starting XI for Ronnie Henry with Lawrie Wilson in at right-back, while up front there was a debut for QPR’s on-loan Patrick Agyemang who started alongside Jordan Slew. Fellow loanee Jamaal Lascelles, brought in from Nottingham Forest last week, started on the bench.

Chesterfield made a good, confident start as they kept the ball moving and looked to use wide men Drew Talbot and Alex Mendy to effect, and it was Talbot who crossed for Neil Trotman to head home on 12 minutes as the visitors took the lead.

For much of the game Stevenage’s main attacking threat came from Laird, in the first-half at left-back behind Luke Freeman and in the second period in left midfield, and Boro’s first chance saw the 23-year-old set up Slew who drew a fine save from Tommy Lee.

It was obvious that Chesterfield had been told to get at Boro early, and they doubled their lead on 21 minutes. Stevenage were caught flat-footed at the back, and a mix up between Wilson and Jon Ashton allowed Jordan Bowery the opportunity to curl a shot past Day into the far corner for 2-0.

Boro were struggling in defence and they almost went three down just before the half-hour mark but Craig Westcarr, beating Mark Roberts, shot wide of Day’s far post.

Ashton had Boro’s best chance of the first period, and it came from one of several set pieces the home side had been awarded. Byrom’s corner was sent in near to Lee’s goal, and the defender beat his man to head just wide of the far post.

Stevenage made a change at half-time with Darius Charles coming on for Robin Shroot, with Laird moving up to left midfield and Freeman switching to the right.

Agyemang’s debut lasted all of an hour before he was taken off for the industrious Chris Beardsley, while Freeman’s afternoon ended shortly afterwards as he made way for Reid.

The changes worked. Firstly Byrom tested Lee with a strike from the edge of the box after fine play from Charles, Beardsley and Slew, and then Stevenage halved the deficit with 15 minutes to go when Laird beat his marker to the near post at a corner and touched the ball home.

With their tails up Boro sensed a comeback was definitely on, and they were level within 90 seconds. This time Laird was the provider, crossing from the left for Reid

to strike calmly past Lee to pull his side level.

It was a remarkable couple of minutes from Stevenage, but they were unable to find that killer third.

Smith will be hoping for a repeat of the second half, not the first, when his side host Oldham Athletic on Tuesday evening.

Stevenage (4-4-2): Day 6, Wilson 6, Laird 8, Roberts 5, Ashton 5, Shroot 5 (Charles 46, 6), Freeman 5 (Reid 65, 7), Byrom 6, Bostwick 7, Agyemang 5 (Beardsley 61, 6), Slew 7. Subs: Julian, Lascelles.

Chesterfield (4-4-2): Lee 7, Hurst 6, Trotman 7, Thompson 6, Ridehaigh 5, Allott 6, Talbot 7, Niven 6, Mendy 6, Westcarr 7 (Lester 80), Bowery 7. Subs: Fleming, Ajose, Whitaker, Ford.

Att: 3534 (308)

Referee: L Collins.

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