Boro held by Histon
Histon 0 Stevenage Boro 0 Boro were held to a frustrating goalless draw at The Glassworld Stadium this evening against Histon as the club s play-off hopes suffered a dent. Steve Morison had Boro s best chance midway through the first half when he was given the freedom of the pena
Boro were held to a frustrating goalless draw at The Glassworld Stadium this evening against Histon as the club's play-off hopes suffered a dent.
Steve Morison had Boro's best chance midway through the first half when he was given the freedom of the penalty area by the Histon defence but the striker's lethal touch in front of goal appears to have deserted him for the moment.
Histon could have netted all three points themselves had it not been for the thickness of the post at the end of the first half when Jamie Barker's smart strike cannoned off the woodwork.
Manager Graham Westley will be heartened at seeing his side extend their unbeaten run to 22 games but knows that only victories against fellow play-off hopefuls will be enough to cement a place in the top five.
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Andy Drury missed out due to the hamstring injury sustained against Ebbsfleet at the weekend giving Jon Ashton his fourth start since his January move from Grays.
Ashton slotted in at right back which meant Lawrie Wilson was pushed into midfield while two games in the space of three days was deemed too much for Lee Boylan as he dropped to the bench for Calum Willock.
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And the big striker almost got through on goal within the first 20 seconds of the contest when Morison fed a delicate through ball behind the Histon defence but goalkeeper Danny Naisbitt was out quickly to smother the danger.
Histon had their first sight of goal in the third minute when Michael Bostwick's misjudged header fell into the path of Jack Midson but the former Boro man dragged his shot wide.
Both sides had started the game at a frenetic tempo and Chris Day had to be alert to tip over Jamie Barker's downward header before Boro went up the other end and could have been ahead but for a good save from Naisbitt.
Lawrie Wilson made good progress down the right flank before pulling the ball back for Morison, whose right-footed effort from 10 yards was beaten away to safety by the Histon shot-stopper.
The hosts had calls for a penalty in the 13th minute when Murray reacted quickest to Darren Murphy's charged down clearance as he appeared to be hauled down by Day in a straight race for the ball but the referee waved away their appeals.
But Histon were certainly not having it all their own way with Morison looking particularly lively. He rose well to direct a header on goal in the 19th minute but Naisbitt was there again to deny the former Northampton man.
Mitchell Cole then had a glorious chance to open the scoring when a long ball forward saw the pacy winger through on goal but he seemed to hesitate before trying to beat Naisbitt at his near post and he parried the shot away to safety.
Suddenly Boro were well on top and were starting to turn the screw. Only Morison will know how he blazed over from close range in the 25th minute after great work down the left from Willock.
Willock's pull back found the striker completely unmarked in the area but the 25-year-old side-footed over and another chance had gone begging.
Morison almost made amends 60 seconds later when he met a deep cross from Cole but his header back across goal fell agonisingly wide.
But Histon had a fantastic chance of their own in the 35th minute when Midson found space on the right wing before delivering a low cross for Murray, who was all alone at the back post, but the striker fired over when it looked easier to score.
The travelling Boro fans had their hearts in their mouths again just before the break when Barker struck the post. There appeared little on as the ball dropped to him on the edge of the penalty area but he connected sweetly with a left-foot half volley that crashed off the post before Day could even move.
Histon made the better start to the second half and Murray headed just over the bar when he met Gwillim's outswinging cross.
But as the rain came down harder both sides got more and more direct in their approaches with the bobbly pitch hardly conducive to free-flowing passing football.
Neither side were carving out chances from open play and, if there was going to be a breakthrough, a set-piece looked the most likely route.
Westley changed his side's formation to a 4-3-3 to try and utilise the speed of Cole against the last defender but Boro still lacked the kind of creativity Drury provides.
Murray had a decent chance when he got the wrong side of Bostwick before firing over from an acute angle.
Gary Mills came on for Willock prompting another tactical reshuffle to 3-5-2 as Boro tried to get a grip on the midfield. Mills provided a shield in front of the defence and showed some nice touches but still no chances were being created from open play.
Day made an excellent save at his near post to deny Midson in the 77th minute when the striker rose highest to meet Gwillim's corner.
The former Millwall 'keeper then had to be at his best again in injury time to keep out Murray's header.
Histon (4-4-2): Naisbitt 7, Oyebanjo 6, Ada 7, Langston 7, Gwillim 7, Barker 6 (Roache 51), Mitchel-King 6, Simpson 7, Knight-Percival 7, Midson 7, Murray 7. Subs not used: Pope, Kennedy, Andrews, Welch.
Boro (4-4-2): Day 7, Ashton 7, Bostwick 7, Roberts 7, Laird 6, Wilson 7, Murphy 6, Bridges 7, Cole 6 (Boylan 77), Willock 6 (Mills 70), Morison 6. Subs not used: Bayes, Albrighton, Vincenti.
Referee: S Creighton (Reading)