Boro start the new year with a 3-2 win
Stevenage Boro 3 Aldershot Town 2 AS farewell appearances go, George Boyd s last home game for Boro may even have topped that of The Beatles. The Fab One left the Broadhall Way crowd wanting more as he scored twice and generally caused the Aldershot defen
Stevenage Boro 3 Aldershot Town 2
AS farewell appearances go, George Boyd's last home game for Boro may even have topped that of The Beatles.
The Fab One left the Broadhall Way crowd wanting more as he scored twice and generally caused the Aldershot defence a massive headache during this scintillating New Year's Day encounter.
Boyd's brilliance was such - and as a sign of gratitude for his service over more than four years at the club - that he received a standing ovation when he was replaced in injury time.
Even Shots boss Terry Brown joined in the applause, and the level of acclaim was an indication that Boro fans have indeed been privileged to see the blossoming career of an undoubted talent.
Although the day was all about Boyd's last appearance in a Boro shirt at Broadhall Way, his team-mates also showed why they are unbeaten since November 11 and won all three games over the festive period.
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Steve Morison was predatory as usual up front, the midfield industrious and yet creative and the defence did well to generally repel a lively visiting forward line with keeper Alan Julian making several fine stops.
The events of the afternoon may have taken a different direction if John Grant had not headed against the bar from inside the six-yard box after 20 minutes of even play.
Boro were soon forced into a change at the back with John Nutter leaving the field with blood pouring from a head wound, Santos Gaia moving to cover the left-back berth and Luke Oliver coming on.
Oliver's sheer physical presence could have earned Boro a spot-kick when he was manhandled in the area but penalty shouts fell on deaf ears.
The opening goal arrived on 32 minutes and it was a beauty.
Intricate build-up play saw Jon Nurse move the ball on for Boyd and he belted the ball beyond Nikki Bull with an unerring finish.
A minute later, roles were reversed as a perfect Boyd cross picked out an unmarked Nurse at the back post but he headed wide with the goal gaping.
The Shots were level two minutes after this as Karl Beckford tapped home after Ryan Williams got behind the Boro defence and squared the ball across.
This furious pace continued as Barry Fuller's shot was cleared off the line after Morison's cross flew across the face of goal. Then Morison's header was well saved by Bull to keep this side level.
Parity remained until half time although it was not for the want of trying.
Mark Beard and Morison went close for Boro, while Julian denied Beckford and Louie Soares and the latter was also thwarted by a superb last-ditch tackle from the covering Fuller.
The flurry of activity resumed after the break.
Headers from Morison and Boyd were both kept out by Bull but Boro were not denied for long.
Another pinpoint Guppy cross allowed Morison to head across Bull into the opposite corner and restore Boro's advantage.
The coup de grace was supplied by Boyd 18 minutes from time.
He showed why he is so highly regarded at just 21 by totally foxing the defence before a cool finish over a helpless Bull.
After a Nurse effort was hacked off the line, Julian was at his best to keep out efforts from Soares and sub David Lee before a deserved third goal for the mercurial Boyd was prevented by Bull.
Boyd's grand departure in added time - another example of good man-management by boss Mark Stimson - was followed by Shots scoring a second goal and it was a real gift.
Sub Sam Hatton's poor clearing header allowed fellow Aldershot replacement Kirk Hudson to finally beat Julian again but nothing could derail the Boyd show.