Boro undone on first trip to Chesterfield

Stevenage disappointed not to build on FA Cup momentum

Chesterfield 1 Stevenage 0

npower League 2

STEVENAGE were sunk by a Drew Talbot goal on their first ever visit to Chesterfield on Saturday.

The midfielder may have taken full advantage of a Stacy Long mistake to whip in a shot past Chris Day at the ‘keeper’s near post but he had much to thank his own ‘keeper Tommy Lee for for helping his side to all three points.

Lee pulled off good saves from Michael Bostwick, Lawrie Wilson and Chris Beardsley in an inspired display to deny Boro what would have been a deserved point, but the visitors will take little satisfaction that they only tested the opposition ‘keeper and didn’t beat him.

After the match Boro boss Graham Westley said it was always going to be difficult for his players to shed off the hype following their win over Newcastle United last week, but he was not making excuses and he did not need to after his side matched the league leaders for the most part.

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Stevenage were unchanged for back-to-back games for the first time since October, although Darius Charles, fresh from suspension, and Byron Harrison, cup-tied for the Newcastle United game, made the bench.

The game was tough for both players and spectators with a cold, fierce wind blowing into the B2net Stadium from open corners and as such any balls played over head height were difficult judge.

The hosts tried their luck a couple of times from distance but failed to test Day, while at the other end, with the wind behind them, Boro often found passes going astray or straight out of play, the same with set pieces.

Day was called into action to deny Jack Lester midway through the half before Craig Davies spurned a good chance when he skied the ball at the far post after finding himself unmarked from a Simon Ford cross.

Beardsley had Boro’s first shot in anger. The striker, receiving a pass inside the box from Wilson, turned his man and fired a shot at goal only for it to take a deflection and go out for a corner.

Lee then made his first save when he got a strong hand to Bostwick’s low drive to turn it wide.

Last weekend, Newcastle’s Tim Krul did exactly the same thing to Bostwick only to be beaten by the midfielder in similar circumstances later in the game.

This time, however, it was Bostwick’s only shot as the hosts did well to shut him down whenever he turned towards goal with the ball.

Day was again called into action to save low from Davies whose shot from an acute angle on the left was diverted out of play but he could do nothing about Talbot’s effort three minutes from half time.

The move started when Long, 30 yards from his own goal, looked for an out ball by trying to thread it through his marker’s legs only to fail.

Talbot was given the ball on the right from where he cut inside and squeezed his shot between Day and the near post.

It was silly from Long, and he received an ear-bashing from skipper Mark Roberts for his mistake, but despite the initial error Talbot was still given too much time on the ball when he needed to be closed down.

A minute later Talbot had the ball in the Boro box again but this time Scott Laird gave him precious little time and threw his body in the way which diverted it wide to keep it one-nil at the break.

Darius Charles came on for Peter Winn at half time and Boro thought they had levelled when Wilson, Boro’s best performer on the day, got into the box a minute after the restart only to see Lee dive to his right and produce a remarkable point blank save which he pushed onto Ford who cleared the danger.

Day came to Boro’s rescue again when he had to come out to smother the ball at the feet of Talbot after the striker had taken advantage of a Jon Ashton slip to get in behind the defence, and then Lee pulled the ball from the air in a diving save to deny Beardsley who had headed a Wilson cross towards goal from 12 yards.

Charles was having an impact up front holding the ball up and bringing others into the game, but Charlie Griffin, another substitute, found things hard going on his introduction.

Bostwick and Lester both shot wide as the half progressed with the game evenly poised, while Day saved from Danny Whitaker before the same man shot inches over in the dying moments.

Boro threw on David Bridges but it was too late for the visitors.

A 1-0 defeat away to the free-scoring league leaders does not seem like a bad scoreline, but Boro will be disappointed they couldn’t build not only on their Newcastle win but their 4-2 triumph over Barnet the week before.

Next up are five home games a row and a win over Morecambe this weekend will be vital in building momentum for the second half of the season.