Boro move to within five points of the play-offs
Bizarre own goal sets Stevenage on their win to win over Port Vale
Port Vale 1 Stevenage 3
npower League 2
BORO moved to within five points of the play-off places with a resounding win over Port Vale on Tuesday.
The hosts had a nightmare of a game and the fans made their voices heard to boss Jim Gannon at its conclusion, but in truth Vale were forced into mistake after mistake by a busy and energetic Boro side bustling with confidence.
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The irony was that although Boro outplayed their opponents for large parts of the game they were gifted the opener which equalled Grant Bassey’s own goal for Barnet at the Lamex back in January in its bizarreness.
Facing his own goal 40 yards out with options either side of him, Vale’s Anthony Griffith decided the best thing to do was to pass the ball back to Chris Martin only to see the ball bobble over the goalkeeper’s foot and into the net, stunning the ground into silence.
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Before the game Graham Westley had told his players to avoid passing back to their goalkeeper to avoid such embarrassments, but clearly the hosts had no such conversation – or if they did, they decided not to act on the advice.
Boro were well worth the win, and will be delighted with taking six points from their trips to Crewe on Saturday and Vale Park on Tuesday.
They kept their shape well, strung three midfielders across the centre of the wide pitch and used the space on the wings to their advantage with Peter Winn having his best game in a Boro shirt and Lawrie Wilson causing problems on the right.
It was those two players who combined for Boro’s second when Wilson chased down Vale left-back Lee Collins near the touchline and while the defender was trying to shepherd the ball out of play tap it through his legs and run into the box.
With Boro making runs from deep, Wilson had a choice of players as he passed the ball across goal only to see Craig Reid miss his kick and David Bridges slide inches short whilst stretching for it as it crossed his path before Winn, at the far post, took a touch and fired it home.
That goal, just before the break, put Boro two up but the hosts were soon back in it when Sam Morsy finished off a decent run along the edge of Boro’s 18-yard box with a deflected goal.
Morsey’s goal came during a 10-minute spell of pressure from the hosts, but as soon as it went in Boro took up the challenge and regained the two-goal initiative just 10 minutes later when Bridges tapped in from two yards after Byron Harrison had skipped past a player in the box and saw his pass reach the midfielder following a scramble on the goal-line.
There was also time for both sides to hit the woodwork, with Bridges heading onto the foot of the post following a Wilson cross on 87 minutes and Morsy striking Chris Day’s left-hand post deep into injury time.
Port Vale (4-2-3-1): Martin 4, Yates 6, Collins 4, Geohagen 6, McCombe 6, Griffith 4, Morsy 7, Haldane 7 (Dodds 6, 68), J Richards 5 (M Richards 7, 46), Loft 5 (Taylor 6, 46), Pope 7. Subs not used: Tomlinson, O’Shea, Taylor, Sutton.
Boro (4-3-3): Day 7, Laird 6, Henry 7, Roberts 6, Ashton 6, Wilson 7, Winn 8 (Foster, 83), Bridges 7, Bostwick 7, Mousinho 6 (Harrison 7, 50), Reid 6 (May 6, 61). Subs not used: Bayes, Long, Atieno, Sinclair.
Attendance: 4,558 (102 away)