Boro Chuks it away against Orient
Stevenage’s unbeaten run comes to an end in feisty encounter at the Lamex
Stevenage 0 Leyton Orient 1
BORO began the new year in disappointing fashion with a dismal performance at home to Orient.
After putting themselves in a strong position for the play-offs with wins at Colchester and Wycombe after Christmas, they undid all their hard work in a game high on controversy with two red cards, but sadly short of quality.
Almost from the outset the visitors pushed Boro back, ‘keeper Chris Day forced into two poor clearances in as many opening minutes as Boro looked disjointed in midfield and unsteady at the back.
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Ironically the first chance of the game came on 10 minutes from a spirited piece of play from Chris Beardsley who chased down a long ball forward. His pressure caught O’s goalkeeper Lee Butcher unaware and his clearance came off the back of Beardsley and rebounded goalwards, only to spin away from the line and into the arms of Butcher.
While Boro relied on long balls and workrate, Orient began to play the ball around well and were rewarded for their enterprise with what proved to be the winner on 15 minutes. Lee Cook provided the finishing touch when he cut in from the right after a drive was charged down and with a pinpoint finish curled the ball into the top left hand corner past the despairing dive of Day.
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The goal signalled a spell of pressure which saw the visitors take a grip on the game and appear likely to add a second. Marc Laird looked set to find the net when he spectacularly swivelled on a cross into the area only to fire his goalbound effort into the arms of Day. This was followed by a David Mooney effort which was blazed over the bar and a drive from Leon McSweeney which was deflected wide.
Boro had their chances, but they were few and far between. Beardsley volleyed wide from a Mark Roberts knock down on 32 minutes while just a minute from the break he turned in the box only to see his shot charged down. Robin Shroot, back in the starting XI after being an unused substitute at Wycombe on Saturday, pounced on the loose ball but drove his effort over the bar.
The half looked set to close on a low but Boro were handed an unexpected lifeline when Ben Chorley received his marching orders with 45 minutes gone. After fouling Beardsley from behind Chorley fell onto the Boro forward and grabbed him with both hands by the head. It was a bizarre incident and one which, with the intervention of the fourth official, had to lead to a red card.
This change of circumstance looked to be the only way that Boro would get back into the game and with the introduction of Luke Freeman for Shroot, a second half onslaught was anticipated. Instead, as the temperature dropped, so did Boro’s level of quality and the game became a second half stalemate as 10 man Orient dealt easily with the poor fayre which Boro put to them.
Freeman did muster a weak effort at Butcher on 53 minutes but that was it as far as shots on target went as Boro simply failed to create any chances of note.
The introduction of Chuks Aneke did lift the spirits of the crowd on 67 minutes, but he only managed a shift of eight minutes before seeing a straight red after a high challenge on Terrell Forbes. It was unfortunate and a replica of Peter Winn’s exit at Southend last season, but there was no excuse and with him it appeared went any chance of a return from this game.
Indeed it was only as the game entered the added time period of five minutes that chances came at either end, Michael Bostwick twice driving goalward only to see one effort blocked and a second just clear the bar. At the other end Day made one superb block from Mooney and was glad to beat George Porter to the ball after the Orient sub had rounded the goalkeeper but failed to find the net from the tightest of angles.
Hopefully this was just one of those games, and given the miracles performed in the past few months by Boro, this may not be a blip, but will be a lesson which could well drive the club on to even greater things.
Stevenage: Day, Henry (Cowan 80), Laird, Ashton, Roberts, Wilson, Byrom, Bostwick, Shroot (Freeman 46), Beardsley, Harrison (Aneke 67). Subs not used: Julian, Edwards.
Leyton Orient: Butcher, Chorley, Cuthbert, Forbes, Chicksen, Dawson, McSweeney, Spring, Laird, Cook (Lisbie 62), Mooney (Porter 88). Subs not used: Mike, Cox, Cureton.