Boro press self-destruct button
Stevenage concede twice in dying minutes to give Stanley a share of the spoils
Stevenage 2 Accrington Stanley 2
npower League 2
STEVENAGE somehow contrived to press the self-destruct button in the final two minutes to gift Accrington Stanley a share of the spoils on Saturday afternoon.
Goals from in-form striker Byron Harrison and Lawrie Wilson had looked like being enough to secure an important three points for Graham Westley’s side but disaster struck when Accrington found the net twice in the dying moments to snatch an unlikely point.
In truth, over the course of the 90 minutes the result is probably a fair one but the manner of the late collapse is one which will leave Boro supporters with a bitter taste in the mouth.
Westley, though, is more concerned with his team’s overall performance against a largely dominant Accrington side.
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“You shouldn’t get stuck on the last two minutes because stuff can always happen in football and to throw away a winning position is not something we’re proud of and it’s not what we do as a rule,” said a disappointed Westley after the match.
“I thought the scoreline over 90 minutes was no more than we deserved and no less than they deserved. We didn’t play good or controlled football and we let the conditions dominate and we let them dominate.
“Sure, you could argue that a stronger referee would have made a difference to the game. They were putting in some tenacious, ferocious challenges and they were being allowed to do that and we didn’t really do what we’d normally do and dominate the game under those circumstances.
“Yes, you can get caught up in the final few minutes but I’m more interested in the overall performance and I think the scoreline probably reflects the way in which the game was played.
“We didn’t control the ball well enough and they had by far the better of the possession and if you allow a side to have the better of the possession you’re obviously putting your points at risk and that was by far the most disappointing aspect of the game for me.”
Boro started the game brightly and it didn’t take long for them to take the lead when Harrison scored his fourth goal in three appearances with seven minutes on the clock.
A measured pass over the top of Stanley’s back-line was latched onto by Harrison who showed a cool head to volley over Ian Dunbavin into the far corner from 15 yards.
Despite going behind, Accrington set about trying to get back in the game by playing neat passing football that couldn’t be matched by Boro.
New record-signing Craig Reid was hardly involved at all as Boro struggled to sustain any form of attacking momentum.
Set plays were where Boro looked most likely to score again and centre-back Jon Ashton produced a typically centre-half finish when he blazed a volley high and wide from 10 yards after John Mousinho’s free-kick was partially cleared.
Accrington were making better use of the ball but their first real sight at goal didn’t arrive until the half-hour mark when Ian Craney hit a 25-yard effort which flew just over Chris Day’s crossbar.
And they went even closer two minutes later when Craney’s shot was spilled by Day into the path of Jimmy Ryan who was racing in at the far post. However, a certain goal was avoided when Peter Winn tracked back superbly to clear for a corner just in the nick of time.
Up at the other end, Harrison had a good opportunity to double his tally just before the break after collecting Wilson’s low cross only to fire straight at the ‘keeper from 12 yards when he probably should have done better.
Five minutes after the interval, Scott Laird went on one of his trademark marauding runs from his own half, taking on two defenders before seeing his 25-yard effort fly just over the bar.
Stanley dominated possession for large spells of the second half and looked far more assured on the ball but found themselves two goals down when Wilson scored Boro’s second on 78 minutes.
Substitute Chris Beardsley flicked a pass onto Wilson who had timed his run perfectly and, despite fierce pressure from Phil Edwards, the winger lashed a low shot past Dunbavin from 12 yards to all but secure victory.
Stanley didn’t give up, though, and they continued to pressure Boro in the final third and were rewarded in the 88th minute when they scored through Terry Gornell.
The Accrington man found himself with the ball on the edge of the Boro penalty area with no obvious options in front of him. However, he quickly nudged the ball to his right before digging out a shot that flew past the despairing dive of Day before going in of the post.
All of a sudden Stanley sensed they could go one better and they did just that in stoppage time as Boro inexplicably allowed Andy Procter to poke home the equaliser through a crowd of players following a corner.
It was a disastrous end to a match which Boro thought they’d had wrapped up just minutes earlier and it certainly doesn’t bode well for Boro’s play-off hopes.
Stevenage: Day, Henry, Ashton, Roberts, Laird, Winn (Sinclair 60), Mousinho, Bostwick (Foster 89), Wilson, Harrison, Reid (Beardsley 60).
Subs: Bayes, Charles, Long, Daley.
Accrington: Dunbavin, Winnard, Edwards, Hessey, Jacobson (Lindfield 88), Barnett, Procter, Ryan (Putterill 52), Richardson (Boulding 73), Craney, Gornell.
Subs: Cisak, McConville, Murphy.