Bostwick hits winner over Rushden
Stevenage Boro 2 Rushden & Diamonds 1 Michael Bostwick s late strike ensured all three points against Rushden & Diamonds this afternoon although the win was overshadowed by a serious injury to Lawrie Wilson. Bostwick s smart 73rd minute strike was enoug
Stevenage Boro 2 Rushden & Diamonds 1
Michael Bostwick's late strike ensured all three points against Rushden & Diamonds this afternoon although the win was overshadowed by a serious injury to Lawrie Wilson.
Bostwick's smart 73rd minute strike was enough to give Boro their second win of the season but manager Graham Westley will be worried how long he will have to contend without the services of Wilson, who was the victim of a crude challenge by Michael Corcoran.
Corcoran was rightly showed the red card and Wilson was immediately taken to hospital to assess the damage to his ankle.
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Boro had earlier been given the lead by Lee Boylan's spot-kick after Chris Beardsley was fouled but Wilson's injury appeared to throw Boro off course while Rushden were galvanised after going down to 10 men.
Justin Edinburgh's men deservedly equalised through Cliff Akurang in the second half but Bostwick saved Boro's blushes with a crisp strike after being set up by Ronnie Henry.
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Boro made three changes from the side that went down to Oxford United last weekend as Chris Day was brought back into the side in place of Ashley Bayes, who missed out through injury.
Darren Murphy also missed out on the match day 16 with Stacy Long handed his first start since the opening day of the season against Tamworth while Mitchell Cole was only fit enough to be on the bench due to a groin strain. Lee Boylan was brought back into the side to partner Chris Beardsley up front.
Beardsley in particular was causing chaos in the opening stages and it came as no surprise when he had a hand in Boro's opener in the sixth minute.
The former Kettering man latched on to a Scott Laird ball over the top and he was suddenly bearing in on Rushden goalkeeper Dale Roberts.
Beardsley scuffed his right-footed effort past the 'keeper but saw it rebound off the post. The striker reacted quickest however and tried to take the ball around the goalkeeper, who appeared to clip Beardsley, but the referee waved away Boro's appeals.
It didn't matter though as less than 60 seconds later Boro had their penalty when Curtis Osano brought down Beardsley inside the penalty area and Boylan converted calmly from the spot.
Boro were well on top and could have doubled their advantage when Jon Ashton met Joel Byrom's corner but the big defender's header flew just over.
Boro's right flank was once again proving to be the main source of their forays forward with Lawrie Wilson and Ronnie Henry causing Rushden all sorts of problems.
However, the Henry-Wilson axis was broken up in the 21st minute courtesy of an horrendous tackle on Wilson by Rushden left back Michael Corcoran.
With the ball running towards him, the former Charlton trainee tried to flick the ball on only for Corcoran to steam in and take his standing leg. The horror on the faces of all his Boro team-mates told its own story.
A stretcher was called for straightaway and the referee had no alternative but to send Corcoran for an early bath.
Mitchell Cole came on at left midfield as Long came over to the right flank to cover Wilson's absence.
The game took a while to settle down with Boro clearly concerned at the plight of their team-mate and Rushden almost took advantage when in their first attack of any note they almost got back on level terms.
Some nice interplay in midfield ended with Mark Byrne releasing Aaron O'Connor in behind and the striker cut in from the left before firing a cross-cum-shot across the face of Chris Day's goal.
The 10 men were certainly not sitting back and Day had to be alert to parry away a spectacular effort from Matt Pattison in the 38th minute.
There was more controversy just before the break when a heavy challenge from Max Porter led to a fracas between both teams but the referee handled the situation well dishing out a yellow card to Porter for the challenge and to Henry for getting involved.
Boro should have gone further ahead early in the second half when a clever through ball by Cole played Boylan through on goal.
The former Cambridge man took it around D Roberts but the goalkeeper did enough to force him wide. Boylan stood the ball up to the back post for Long, who instead of shooting, laid off to Bostwick.
The midfielder then tried to play in Beardsley but the danger was snuffed out and somehow Boro had missed a golden opportunity.
It came back to haunt them in the 56th minute when Rushden drew level. Byrne got in behind Scott Laird and Mark Roberts and, although his effort was well saved by Day, Pattison picked up the rebound and teed up Akurang, who calmly rolled the ball home.
Rushden then went on to dominate Stevenage for a 10-minute spell despite being a man down and Boro desperately needed someone to take the game by the scruff of the neck.
That man turned out to be Bostwick and the former Ebbsfleet man's sweet strike in the 73rd minute put Boro back in the lead.
Henry made good progress down the right flank before spotting Bostwick lurking on the edge of the area. Henry teed up the midfielder perfectly and his low 20-yard shot arrowed into the corner.
Boylan almost settled any Boro nerves with a long range volley soon after but D Roberts was well positioned to save easily.
Substitute Peter Vincenti then went in on goal late on but D Roberts was quickly off his line to save well.
Boro (4-4-2): Day 7, Henry 7, Ashton 7, M Roberts 7, Laird 6, Wilson 7 (Cole 24, 7), Bostwick 8, Byrom 6, Long 6 (Odubade 71, 6), Boylan 7, Beardsley 6 (Vincenti 64, 6). Subs not used: Rayner, Albrighton.
Rushden & Diamonds (4-4-2): D Roberts 6, Osano 6, Stuart 7, Downer 6, Corcoran 5, Pattison 7 (Farrell 77), Byrne 7, Porter 6, Tomlin 7, Akurang 7 (Smith 82), O'Connor 6 (Robinson 66, 6). Subs not used: Reid, Beecroft.
Referee: Nick Kinseley (Essex)