Boro undone by Peterborough
Stevenage Boro 0 Peterborough United 2 Boro suffered the second defeat of their pre-season campaign at the hands of Peterborough United on Tuesday evening thanks goals from Shaun Batt and Charlie Lee. Peterborough looked the better side all evening but
Stevenage Boro 0 Peterborough United 2
Boro suffered the second defeat of their pre-season campaign at the hands of Peterborough United on Tuesday evening thanks goals from Shaun Batt and Charlie Lee.
Peterborough looked the better side all evening but for a 15-minute spell in the second half and the quality of both strikes illustrated the gulf in class between the two sides.
Batt struck early in the first period when Mark Roberts failed to cut out a long ball and the striker, brother of former Boro defender Damien, finished with aplomb.
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Boro struggled to get into the game although the introduction of Joel Byrom at the start of the second half seemed to give Graham Westley's men the attacking rhythm they lacked in the first period.
The 15,000 signing from Northwich Victoria almost got Boro back on level terms with a long range effort that Posh 'keeper Joe Lewis did well to tip over while the ever-impressive Lawrie Wilson missed a good opportunity.
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But Darren Ferguson's side wrapped up the victory late on with a fine strike by Lee, who cut in from the left and fired home from long range.
Peterborough should have been in front after 45 seconds when a nervy Scott Laird gave the ball away midway inside his own half resulting in George Boyd making it to the by-line before pulling it back for Tommy Rowe but his scuffed effort from six yards was easily smothered by Ashley Bayes.
The next 10 minutes ambled along aimlessly as you would expect in a pre-season friendly although there were flashes of skill from Darren Ferguson's side to illustrate their Championship pedigree.
However, it was a mistake from Boro skipper Mark Roberts that allowed Posh to open the scoring. The former Northwich Victoria defender misjudged Paul Coutts' long ball over the top and Batt was on to it in a flash.
He spotted Bayes off his line and carefully lofted a left-footed finish over the Stevenage stopper from 12 yards to open the scoring.
A minute later Mitchell Cole was stretchered off to compound Boro's misery as Chris Beardsley came on to replace the winger.
Manager Graham Westley will be praying the injury is not too serious with the former Southend man looking in fine form over the pre-season campaign. However, judging by Cole's facial expression as he came off the field his participation against Tamworth on the opening day of the season must be in serious doubt.
Boro could have got back on level terms in the 21st minute when Joe Lewis failed to deal with Chris Beardsley's cross, fumbling it towards the edge of the area where Stacy Long missed the target with his attempted lob as the former Norwich goalkeeper scrambled to get back on his line.
But Stevenage struggled to create any other chances of note with Westley's side lacking any physical presence up front and the Peterborough central defensive duo gobbled up everything the hosts could throw at them.
Joel Byrom came on for Jon Ashton at the break with the former Grays man sustaining a head injury at the end of the first half. Michael Bostwick dropped into central defence while Stevenage looked to Byrom's prompting from the middle of the park to get them back into the game.
Ronnie Henry was also given the second half as a run-out in place of Yemi Odubade, who had struggled to get into the game.
Michael Bostwick had a speculative effort from all of 35 yards in the 52nd minute that whistled wide of Lewis' goal but Peterborough looked the more likely to extend their lead.
Bayes was forced to make two excellent saves in the space of a minute to deny McLean after some fine approach play as the former Crawley man demonstrated once again he will be pushing Chris Day all the way for the 'keeper's jersey this season.
Lee then went close for the visitors when his burst from right back when untracked but he dragged his shot just wide of Bayes' far post from a tight angle.
But Stevenage almost grabbed an equaliser against the run of play in the 65th minute when Byrom unleashed a piledriver from 30 yards but Lewis tipped over the bar.
Stevenage were finally starting to put some pressure on Posh and were getting some joy down the flanks. Long's cross from the left took a deflection and found its way to Wilson lurking at the back and his right-footed effort went just over the bar.
Byrom then had another long-range effort that was too hot to handle for Lewis and Roberts looked all set to put Boro back on level terms until the linesman's flag intervened.
The game developed more of a competitive edge as the half wore on and Boylan was booked for going in late on Lewis sparking something of a melee between both sets of players.
It was a naughty challenge from the former Cambridge man but quite why so many players had to come in and "diffuse" the situation remains a mystery.
Peterborough wrapped up the win in the 82nd minute though and it was a strike well worth waiting for.
Lee picked the ball up 25 yards from goal before taking aim and firing into the top corner giving Bayes absolutely no chance.
Boyd almost got in on the act in the 85th minute but Bayes got down well to tip his low shot wide.
Boro (4-4-2): Bayes 7, Wilson 7 (Odhiambo 77), Ashton 6 (Byrom 46, 7), Roberts 6, Laird 6, Bostwick 6 (Albrighton 67), Bridges 6, Long 6 (Doyle 84), Odubade 6 (Henry 46), Cole 6 (Beardsley 14, 6 (Griffin 71)), Boylan 6 (Vincenti 85). Subs not used: Day, Vincenti, Murphy.
Peterborough (4-4-2): Lewis 6, Williams 6 (Martin 65), Zakuani 7, Pearce 7, Lee 6, Rowe 7 (Green 68), Coutts 7, Diagouraga 7 (McRae 63), Boyd 7, Batt 8 (Mills 86), McLean 7. Subs not used: McKeown, Day, Frecklington, Crook, Wright, Gaughran.