Boro through to last 16 of the FA Trophy
Stevenage Boro 3 Leigh RMI 1 BORO moved into the last 16 of the FA Trophy but it was not without alarm. Midway through the second half, a midweek replay looked distinctly possible as the teams were locked together at a goal apiece. Then a typical opportun
Stevenage Boro 3 Leigh RMI 1
BORO moved into the last 16 of the FA Trophy but it was not without alarm.
Midway through the second half, a midweek replay looked distinctly possible as the teams were locked together at a goal apiece.
Then a typical opportunist strike from Steve Morison gave Boro the lead, the Nationwide Conference North visitors went down to 10 men as they completely lost their discipline and the tie was virtually over.
Boro boss Mark Stimson was forced into two changes from the New Year's Day home league win over Aldershot.
With George Boyd making his League debut for new club Peterborough, another man with magic in his left foot, Steve Guppy, was sidelined due to injury.
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Craig Dobson deputised on the wing, Jon Nurse swopping flanks, with former Spurs reserve Jamie Slabber in for his debut up front.
Slabber took only 25 minutes to endear himself to the Broadhall Way faithful by opening the scoring but not before Leigh had enjoyed a bright opening.
Andy Roscoe's free-kick was inches over Alan Julian's crossbar, while the keeper was also scrambling to get across as Hugh McAuley let fly from distance.
Boro then gained the ascendency without threatening John Lamb's goal for the next quarter of an hour.
This all changed after 25 minutes as Morison left full-back Steve Brockley for dead and sent over a perfect cross.
Slabber rose and headed down powerfully but still must have been relieved to see Lamb fumble it over the line and grant him his first goal in a Boro shirt.
Leigh, who had barely got out of their own half for the previous 20 minutes, surprisingly gained an equaliser on 33 minutes.
Another Boro attack faltered and Leigh burst upfield, culminating in McAuley being allowed too much time and space and he buried the ball beyond Julian from outside the penalty area.
This seemed to knock the stuffing out of Boro as Leigh grew in confidence.
The half-time break was needed and the hosts should have gone ahead 10 minutes into the new half when Nurse headed over at the back post from Craig Dobson's pinpoint cross.
Slabber was replaced on the hour by Dale Binns, skipper Ronnie Henry having already come off for Luke Oliver, as Boro searched for inspiration.
This arrived on 68 minutes, even though the goal had an element of good fortune.
John Nutter's wayward shot fortuitously fell into the path of the predatory Morison.
The coveted striker calmly controlled it with one touch and beat Lamb with ease.
Seconds later, what had been previously a fairly even tempered tie erupted.
A terrible challenge on Barry Fuller by Brockley sparked a 22-man brawl, Lamb even charging more than half the length of the field to enter the fray.
Culprit Brockley was cautioned, along with Leigh skipper Mark Maddox and Boro's Mark Beard for their part in the aftermath.
Sanity was not restored for long as Nurse was the victim this time of another lunge by Maddox to ensure his second caution within the space of a minute.
Boro killed the tie off six minutes from time when Dobson freed Morison down the left and his low cross-shot was helped into his own net by Brockley.
Leigh spurned the chance of a second late on from the penalty spot.
Hasim Deen's first action after coming on for Beard was to recklessly foul McAuley in the box.
The same player took the kick but Julian saved his attempt.
Boro were denied a fourth in added time when Nurse was denied at point blank range. It would have been harsh on Leigh.
# Boro will now travel to Conference rivals Morecambe in the third round on Saturday, February 3.