Boro youngsters earn Tottenham tie
Jess Parons’ deflected free-kick enough to see off Orient
Stevenage Youth 1 Leyton Orient Youth 0
With Stevenage’s senior side set to travel to their Orient counterparts this Saturday it was rather apt that the two teams should meet in the second round of the FA Youth Cup this week – a tie Boro won courtesy of a deflected Jesse Parsons free kick.
Stevenage have now set up a tasty tie at home to Tottenham Hotspur in the next round, but if their courage and eagerness to take victory on Wednesday night is anything to go by then the Premier League’s academy side will face a tough test when the two sides meet in the next round.
Playing a variation of a diamond formation with Harley Kelly sitting steadfast in front of a back line which included the best player on the park – Boro centre-back George Allen – Boro took the lead midway through the first half and despite good pressure from the visitors held on to the lead until the break.
By the start of the second period Boro had worked out how to keep Billy Lobjoit, the O’s tricky No.8, quiet, and in doing so stopped the visitors from building phases of play on the ground, leading them to hit aerial balls at the Boro back line.
There was chances for both sides but Boro still led 1-0 going into the final 10 minutes, a spell of football which had the 200 or so hardy souls – including a number of Stevenage’s first team squad – on the edge of their seats.
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Firsty Stevenage goalkeeper Nick Thompson took a knock but had to hobble on as the home side had used all of their three substitutes, but then in front of him centre-back Parson was also injured leaving the back line in some trouble.
Allen was given goal-kicking duties but at one point fell over whilst striking the ball, and all the while the O’s were pushing Boro back and pinging balls into the box.
There was an effort cleared off the Stevenage line while other O’s shots were being either blocked, hit just wide of the goal or deflected out for corners which were lobbed in Thompson’s direction to keep the goalkeeper under pressure.
When the full time whistle went Thompson collapsed to the floor to receive treatment, Parsons hobbled towards his team-mates and there was a huge sigh of relief for everyone concerned at Boro for the way the home side had held on.
Clearly impressed by what they had witnessed, the first teamers left at the end of the game no doubt hoping for a similar result when they travel down to Orient this weekend.
Stevenage: Thompson 8, Hartley 7, Dhillon 6, Kelly 8 (Gordon 70, 6), Allen 8, Parsons 7, McCall 6, Pitharas 6 (Towner 75), Morrison-Derbyshire 7, Yusuff 6 (Porcelli 60, 6), N’Guessan 6