Boro held by Forest Green
Boro s play-off challenge suffered a dent this evening as struggling Forest Green held Graham Westley s side to a 1-1 draw. Andy Mangan gave the Gloucestershire side the lead midway through the first half when he latched on to Conal Platt s defence-split
Boro's play-off challenge suffered a dent this evening as struggling Forest Green held Graham Westley's side to a 1-1 draw.
Andy Mangan gave the Gloucestershire side the lead midway through the first half when he latched on to Conal Platt's defence-splitting pass to fire past Chris Day but Boro levelled through Mitchell Cole's penalty before half time.
Both sides struggled to create goalscoring opportunities in the second period as the weather conditions worsened although Chris Day produced a wonderful save late on from Mangan's close range effort to ensure Boro claimed a share of the spoils.
Boro were on the front foot from the start and could have been in front as early as the second minute. Andy Drury's corner was only cleared to the edge of the area where Cole was waiting and the winger produced a superb right-footed effort that looped over 'keeper Terry Burton before smashing against the crossbar. Morison tried to follow up but the offside flag stopped him in his tracks.
Boro couldn't build on their fast start however with both sides struggling to adapt to the wet, windy conditions. Boro's cause was not helped when Jon Ashton suffered a facial injury forcing the former Grays man off the field for at least five minutes to undergo running repairs with Boro temporarily reduced to 10 men.
Ashton's return to the fray was given a cheer by the Boro faithful but they were struggling to get any rhythm going forward and just before the half hour mark Forest Green made them pay.
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Conal Platt produced a wonderful 40-yard pass behind the Boro defence for Mangan to latch on to and the striker showed a clean pair of heels to get away from Mark Roberts before driving the ball past Chris Day.
But Boro's response was impressive and within three minutes they were back on level terms. Peter Vincenti looked set to get on the end of Drury's free kick from the right before the crowd favourite was shoved in the back by David Brown and the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot.
Cole stepped up and calmly sent the 'keeper the wrong way to restore parity.
The tide seemed to be turning in Stevenage's favour and Forest Green's cause was not helped when manager Jim Harvey was sent off in the 36th minute. The Rovers supremo had been fired up during the first half giving the fourth official a tough time and the officials' patience finally snapped.
The rest of the half descended into somewhat of a farce with a melee on the touchline producing the main talking point. Morison and Platt were grappling for the ball in front of both benches before several other players weighed in culminating in David Bridges appearing to take a swipe at Platt's calf.
The officials finally managed to calm the situation down before brandishing the yellow card to both Platt and Bridges. The Boro midfielder was lucky it wasn't red.
Forest Green were on top at the start of the second period and Boro suffered a blow when Cole was forced off with what appeared to be a hamstring injury as Lawrie Wilson came on in his place.
As the rain came down harder both sides struggled to adapt to the conditions although Drury came close with a near post volley after Ronnie Henry's centre.
Henry was providing a decent outlet down the right hand side showing no ill effects from the injury that forced him to miss the win at Altrincham. He almost turned provider again in the 69th minute but Morison was unable to take the ball in his stride allowing Burton to come out and smother.
Mangan then had a golden opportunity to put Rovers in front when a cross from the left bobbled into his path and he looked odds on to smash the ball home from six yards.
Fortunately for Stevenage, Day had other ideas as the former Millwall man produced a wonderful reflex stop.
Boro (4-4-2): Day 7, Henry 7*, Ashton 6 (Mills 67), Roberts 6, Laird, Drury, Bostwick, Bridges, Cole (Wilson 47), Vincenti (Anderson 63), Morison. Subs not used: Bayes, Albrighton.
Forest Green (4-4-2): Burton, Gill, Ayres, Preece, Stonehouse, Lawless, Jones, Fowler, Platt, Mangan, Brown. Subs not used: Robinson, Rigoglioso, Ashford, Mohamed, Lloyd.
Referee: S Ross
Boro (4-4-2): Day 7, Henry 7*, Ashton 6 (Mills 67), Roberts 6, Laird 6, Drury 6, Bostwick 6, Bridges 6, Cole 6 (Wilson 47, 6), Vincenti 6 (Anderson 63, 6), Morison 6. Subs not used: Bayes, Albrighton.
Forest Green (4-4-2): Burton 6, Gill 6, Ayres 6, Preece 6, Stonehouse 6, Lawless 7, Jones 6, Fowler 7, Platt 7, Mangan 7, Brown 6. Subs not used: Robinson, Rigoglioso, Ashford, Mohamed, Lloyd.