Away day blues for Boro

Crawley Town 3 Stevenage Boro 0 BORO suffered the away day blues at Crawley, following up their impressive victory at York with a lacklustre display against a side fighting to stay up. The home side needed to halt a run of five games without a win and beg

Crawley Town 3 Stevenage Boro 0

BORO suffered the away day blues at Crawley, following up their impressive victory at York with a lacklustre display against a side fighting to stay up.

The home side needed to halt a run of five games without a win and began the game in determined mood, while Boro failed to make any impression in the first half in blustery conditions.

Stevenage fielded an unchanged side from the one which won 1-0 at York, while Adam Miller was back from injury and was on the bench.


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Crawley were first out of the starting blocks and might have scored as early as the seventh minute but for a timely clearance at the back from skipper Ronnie Henry to clear a shot from Marcus Richardson.

Home captain Dannie Bulman, who began the season at Broadhall Way before joining Reds mid-season after a successful three-month loan spell, gave his new side the lead from the penalty spot in the 10th minute against his former club.

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Henry brought down Elliot Benyon in the penalty area and Bulman fired the spot-kick straight into the back of the net.

Boro spent the rest of the half defending their own penalty area, and keeper Alan Julian did well to deny shots by Tyrone Berry, Benyon and Richardson.

In a rare attack before the break, Paul Hakim put through Steve Morison in a threatening position but the top scorer was tackled by defender Marcus Okuonghae before he could get take aim on goal.

Boro then suffered a further blow to their fortunes just before the half-time whistle when sub Miller was sent-off for his second bookable offence.

It was for a foul on Richardson, just a quarter of an hour after he came on for the out-of-sorts Daryl McMahon.

Any thoughts Stevenage may have had of making an early recovery were dampened just eight minutes into the second half when Crawley scored their second.

Tony Scully ran across field, exchanged passes with Benyon just outside the penalty area and unleashed an unstoppable shot past Julian.

Referee Dave Phillips appeared to be trying to set a new record for the number of bookings he could make, and annoyed both sides with his approach of waving a yellow card instead of just awarding a free-kick.

It was perhaps only a matter of time before someone else was sent-off and it was to be Crawley's Scully after 67 minutes when turned it into a 10-a-side match for kicking the ball away, having already been booked for a foul in the first half.

Instead of getting back into the game, Stevenage went 3-0 down in the 74th minute when Richardson, who looked suspiciously offside, received a long ball over the top from Scott Hiley and blasted it into the roof of the net, giving Julian no chance.

Boro gradually got into the game in the final stages, especially when the impressive Craig Dobson came on for Morison, but late attacks proved too little, too late in a disappointing display.

Boro manager Mark Stimson said: "We didn't perform and didn't get to grips with the blustery conditions, which were the same for both sides, but Crawley dealt with them better.

"Going in 1-0 down at half-time, I thought we could have come back and we played a bit better in the second half, without really claiming any chances.

"We didn't get our wingers involved and the strikers didn't have any luck in front of goal. Everything we put into the box, their goalkeeper (Ben Hamer) came out and caught it.

"We looked a bit off the pace and had a penalty go against us, which some of the players thought was outside the box."

And he added: "It certainly was not a case of complacency.

"We gave Crawley full respect and know that if it wasn't for their 10 points deduction for going into administration, they would be right up there and are a decent side.

"We now need to get belief back to our strikers and try to get the ball to our wings, which has worked well for us this season.

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