Boro triumph despite late scare from Burton
Stevenage Boro 2 Burton Albion 1 BORO S growing momentum towards a play-off berth gathered pace against one of their chief rivals. After an opening 45 minutes akin to watching paint dry, Boro produced a vibrant second-half display and deservedly took all
Stevenage Boro 2 Burton Albion 1
BORO'S growing momentum towards a play-off berth gathered pace against one of their chief rivals.
After an opening 45 minutes akin to watching paint dry, Boro produced a vibrant second-half display and deservedly took all three points despite a late scare.
Boro fielded the same starting XI which overcame Morecambe in an FA Trophy replay in midweek and this first half followed a similar pattern.
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Defences were well on top and not helped by some strange decisions by referee Attwell, the game had no discernible shape at all.
Neither side managed a shot of any kind on target, with goalmouth action at a premium.
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Boro's sum total was a Steve Morison shot which went comfortably wide early on, and Barry Fuller's wayward effort a couple of minutes before the break.
Burton's lone response was a speculative long range effort by Aaron Webster which flew into Broadhall Way.
The second half could only get better and it certainly did, especially from Boro's perspective.
A tame Morison header at least forced Kevin Poole into action, while the keeper was far less comfortable minutes later.
Poole spilled Daryl McMahon's difficult shot but Jon Nurse could not quite get on the end of the rebound.
The reprieve was shortlived as Boro grabbed the initiative on 55 minutes.
Poole punched clear Nurse's overhead kick cross but it only landed to John Nutter 25 yards from goal.
Without hesitation, the full-back rifled an unstoppable drive into the bottom corner past the keeper.
This goal awoke Burton from their slumbers and predatory Daryl Clare, well shackled all afternoon by Santos Gaia and Ronnie Henry, had a shot deflected wide - even though a goal kick was incorrectly awarded.
The pivotal moment of the match arrived on the hour mark.
Alan Julian had been a virtual spectator for the first hour but was called upon to turn away Lee Bell's shot in spectacular style.
From the resulting Burton corner, Boro broke upfield at pace and Mitchell Cole sped down the wing before sending over an inch-perfect cross for Adam Miller to head home after a lung-busting run.
Boro immediately switched to two up front with new recruit Paul Hakim replacing Mark Beard and almost scored a third from a corner with Burton scrambling the ball clear.
Clare was substituted minutes after a crude late lunge at Gaia and Burton's hopes looked non-existent.
But they were offered a lifeline a minute from time when Danny Holmes, just after becoming Burton's fourth caution of the afternoon, pulled one back.
Boro struggled to clear their lines from a corner and Holmes' excellent shot nestled in the corner from the edge of the penalty area.
This ensured a hectic finale and Boro were relieved to hear the final whistle after four extra minutes of almost unbearable tension.
Boro boss Mark Stimson said: "Burton made it difficult for us first half, just like Morecambe did in the Trophy replay.
"It was frustrating because we couldn't get our wingers into the game.
"The second half was again very impressive.
"With our first goal, it was pleasing to see defenders not sitting back and attacking the ball.
"The second goal showed that no one in the Conference will stop Mitchell (Cole) when he goes on a run.