Boro draw against Morecambe
Stevenage Boro 3 Morecambe 3 Boro s defensive frailties returned to haunt them in this pulsating 90 minutes against one of their play-off rivals. After leading 1-0 and 3-1 at various stages, Mark Stimson s side could only take a point – not enough at this
Stevenage Boro 3 Morecambe 3
Boro's defensive frailties returned to haunt them in this pulsating 90 minutes against one of their play-off rivals.
After leading 1-0 and 3-1 at various stages, Mark Stimson's side could only take a point - not enough at this stage of the season.
For Boro, Stuart Lewis made a composed debut in central midfield alongside old warhorse Mark Beard. Craig Dobson and Mitchell Cole occupied the wing positions.
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Dobson and Cole were involved in the opening 90 seconds, the former's corner to the near post allowing Cole to glance a header right across the face of goal.
Boro's aggressive start continued and a Ronnie Henry shot was hoofed off the line by Danny Adams.
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The lead was deservedly grabbed in the 26th minute and it came from a Morecambe error.
Barry Fuller played a long ball down the channel but Chris Blackburn looked to have covered the danger.
But Blackburn's back header never looked like reaching Steven Drench and Jon Nurse nipped in to lift the ball over the stranded keeper.
Morecambe were rocking but Boro's only real opportunity saw Cole send a shot this time across goal after clever play and pass from Steve Morison.
The home side looked comfortable but an injury to Dobson saw them switch off before the break and concede an equaliser in added time.
Garry Thompson skated around left-back John Nutter and his low cross was turned in by Wayne Curtis despite the attentions of Fuller.
The predatory David McNiven also flashed a shot just over as the tables were suddenly turned.
Both sides made changes at the break, Paul Hakim replacing the crocked Dobson, while Scott Davies came in for injured Morecambe keeper Drench.
The first 20 minutes of the new half were some of the more remarkable seen at Broadhall Way this season as Boro took and then surrendered a two-goal advantage.
Within a minute of the restart, McNiven thudded a fierce shot off the underside of the bar.
Boro broke quickly and less 30 seconds later, Morison had got the better of Blackburn and slid the ball past the new goalkeeper.
Morecambe roared back with Garry Hunter firing a 30-yard free-kick just over the top and McNiven falling over when Hunter astutely played him in.
It became 3-1 to Boro on 52 minutes as a long throw caused problems and Hakim eventually buried the opportunity.
A minute later, the lead was halved with Fuller, in trying to clear, crashing a header down off the underside of the bar. The assistant referee signalled a goal although most of the ground were unsure.
Fuller was also involved a couple of minutes later as he produced a miraculous clearance off the line to stop a Thompson shot.
Thompson was not to be denied though and his cross-shot caused the equaliser on 65 minutes as two Boro defenders on the line were unable to keep it out.
There was more end-to-end play as the minutes ticked away without either side creating any further clear opportunities.
Boro boss Mark Stimson admitted: "We switched off a couple of times at the back.
"But we still had a performance full of energy and purpose.
"The result is disappointing after being 3-1 up but we showed good urgency throughout the game."
And Stimson added: "Steve Morison showed great composure for his goal; he's not happy when he isn't scoring goals.
"And Paul Hakim was bright and it was a fantastic finish.