Boro held by Torquay

Stevenage Boro 0 Torquay United 0 Boro edged a point closer to the play-offs at The Lamex Stadium this afternoon but could rue not bagging all three against 10-man Torquay United. Lee Mansell s dismissal just after the hour-mark gave Boro a great chance to gain victory but they couldn t

Boro edged a point closer to the play-offs at The Lamex Stadium this afternoon but could rue not bagging all three against 10-man Torquay United.

Lee Mansell's dismissal just after the hour-mark gave Boro a great chance to gain victory but they couldn't find the breakthrough.

Boro's best chance came through Steve Morison in the first period when he sliced wide following Scott Laird's cross while Torquay always presented a threat through striker Tim Sills.

The former Oxford man was a constant menace to the Boro defence and only a great clearance off the line by Mark Roberts prevented him from bagging the winner in injury time.

Andy Drury's return to first team action was perhaps the highlight of the afternoon for Boro with the midfielder showing some nice touches after coming on as a second half substitute.

Boro made one change to the side that beat Crawley so impressively on Easter Monday as Jon Ashton missed out due to a shoulder injury with Darren Murphy coming back into the side.

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The Irishman returned having served his three-match suspension for the red card at Kidderminster as John Martin once again missed out on the squad altogether.

Boro had the first half chance of the day when Mitchell Cole swung in a cross from the left that Lawrie Wilson met but the in-form midfielder could not keep his header down.

Torquay then carved out a decent chance of their own in the seventh minute when Wayne Carlisle cut in from the right before clipping the ball in for Blair Sturrock but his glancing header from 10 yards went straight at Chris Day.

The Boro 'keeper could only look on however soon after when a wonderful free-kick from Kevin Nicholson was met by Tim Sills but, fortunately for Boro, the Gulls striker headed wide.

It was certainly proving to be an open game considering what was at stake for both sides and whoever got the breakthrough was going to be crucial.

Morison missed a golden chance to open the scoring in the 10th minute when Scott Laird made a great run to get to the by-line before his cross caused havoc in the Torquay penalty area. The ball eventually fell at Morison's feet but, from six yards out, he stabbed horribly wide.

Mills then had a speculative 25-yard effort that flew just over the bar before Scott Mansell almost put through his own net after a mix-up with 'keeper Scott Bevan.

The Gulls shot-stopper came charging out to collect a long ball forward but Mansell ignored his team-mate's call and headed past the man-mountain.

Bevan just about managed to recover and collect the ball on the goal line before smashing into his own post.

A lightning fast breakaway from Stevenage led by Wilson led to an opening for Lee Boylan but the former Cambridge man could not control the ball quickly enough and a Torquay defender was there to snuff out the danger.

Morison was fuming with his strike partner for not passing but a predator like Boylan was never going to pass up the chance of a shot on goal.

But Torquay certainly posed an aerial threat through Sills and only a wonderful save from Day prevented the striker from opening the scoring.

Nicholson's ball in saw the front man get in front of Roberts but his header back across goal was athletically kept out by Day.

Stevenage were carrying the greater threat going forward, however, and Bevan did well to palm away another long range effort from Mills while a thunderous volley from Morison flew just over the bar.

Day had to pull off another excellent save just before the break when Carlisle's slide-rule pass split the Boro back four and Sturrock was in on goal.

But the former Millwall man raced off his line and smothered the striker's effort to the relief of the Boro faithful.

Morison went close at the start of the second half with a good solo run but his right-footed effort slammed into the side-netting.

But Torquay came right back at Boro and should have gone in front when Sills was left unmarked at the back post and he picked out Roscoe Dsane but his close range overhead kick flew over the bar.

Dsane then had a deflected effort flash right across the face of Day's goal in the 52nd minute and from the resultant corner Hargreaves' header was cleared off the line through a combination of Wilson and Day.

Boro were given a massive shot in the arm in the 63rd minute when Mansell was given his marching orders. The United defender was given a booking for a trip on Cole and then did exactly the same thing a minute later giving the referee no option but to produce a red card.

Could Boro make the extra man tell? Morison's half-volley almost found the far corner in the 69th minute but Torquay had not disappeared as an attacking force despite being down to 10 men.

Murphy should have done better when played through by Morison but the former Cork man decided to shoot wide when Cole was in acres of space on his left.

Henry had a very good chance in the 78th minute after good link-up play between Morison and Drury but the defender dragged his effort wide.

Torquay almost got a dramatic late winner when Sills rose highest to meet a corner but Roberts was there to clear off the line.

But this wasn't the last action as Murphy's 20-yard drive looked destined for the back of the net before a superb block from defender Chris Todd.

Boro (4-4-2): Day 7, Henry 6, Bostwick 6, Roberts 7, Laird 6, Wilson 6 (Drury 63), Murphy 6, Mills 8, Cole 7, Boylan 7 (Willock 75), Morison 6. Subs not used: Bayes, Albrighton, Mendes.

Torquay United (4-4-2): Bevan 7, Mansell 5, Robertson 6, Todd 7, Nicholson 7, Carlisle 6, Wroe 6, Hargreaves 7, Dsane 6 (Hodges 67), Sills 7, Sturrock 6 (Carayol 77). Subs not used: Benyon, Stevens, Christie.

Referee: A Hendley

Attendance: 2,819