Bostwick injury time equaliser earns draw
Stevenage Boro 1 Altrincham 1 Michael Bostwick s injury time equaliser preserved Boro s unbeaten home record against Altrincham this afternoon. It looked like Graham Westley s men would taste defeat for the first time since November last year after Robe
Stevenage Boro 1 Altrincham 1
Michael Bostwick's injury time equaliser preserved Boro's unbeaten home record against Altrincham this afternoon.
It looked like Graham Westley's men would taste defeat for the first time since November last year after Robert Williams' first half headed strike.
But Bostwick rose highest to meet Scott Laird's cross in the 92nd minute to direct a bullet header into the far corner and earn Boro a share of the spoils.
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It was the least Boro deserved for endeavour alone although once again Westley's men lacked enough quality to break down a stubborn rearguard action.
Altrincham appeared more than happy to protect their lead in the second period but for long spells Stevenage didn't have the guile to find a way through.
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Just when all hope had been lost Bostwick came to the rescue and Boro must now carry this momentum into their clash against Luton Town on Tuesday evening.
Boro struggled to shake off the lethargy of their midweek performance against Grays early on and only an excellent last-ditch challenge from Scott Laird prevented them from going behind in the sixth minute.
Alty striker Aaron Burns won a straight race with Chris Day and looked all set to roll the ball into an empty net until Laird steamed across from left back to put in a great block and allow Mark Roberts to clear Boro's lines.
Eddie Odhiambo, who was standing in at right back for Ronnie Henry after the Boro defender injured ankle ligaments in training, tried to inject some impetus in Boro's attacking play in the 12th minute when his cross from the right found Mitchell Cole at the back post.
However, the former Grays man couldn't quite stretch enough to get enough purchase on his shot and Altrincham 'keeper Stuart Coburn gathered easily.
Michael Brough, who signed on a month's loan from Torquay on Friday, was the next to try his luck after the Alty defence failed to clear their lines but the 28-year-old's dipping shot went just over.
But there was no getting away from the fact that Boro were lacking any kind of imagination through the spine of their side.
The Darren Murphy-Brough axis in central midfield may be good at breaking up play but neither were showing a willingness to go beyond Boro's strikers.
Altrincham grew in confidence through the first half and they duly took the lead in the 22nd minute. Robert Williams's run went untracked in the Boro penalty area and he glanced home Burns' in-swinging free-kick with aplomb.
Boro needed to re-group and try to get their flair players into the contest with Drury looking a threat when in possession. The former Lewes man went close just before the break when he ran at the Alty defence before his left-footed curling shot squirmed just wide of Coburn's post.
Cole had another chance in injury time at the end of the half but he snatched at the shot and the ball flew well over the bar.
Charlie Griffin came on as a substitute at the start of the second half in place of Chris Beardsley and within two minutes of being on the field he had almost set up an equaliser.
The former Salisbury man's header across the face of goal found his strike partner Lee Boylan, but his firm downward header was well saved by Coburn.
Altrincham began to sit very deep although in Christopher Denham they had a player who always offered an outlet on the counter attack.
The winger had a decent effort in the 63rd minute that Day got down well to save.
But Boro finally started to turn the screw on their opponents and they came agonisingly close to getting the equaliser in the 74th minute.
Stacy Long's corner caused chaos in the Altrincham penalty area and Peter Vincenti's header was cleared off the line on to his own bar by Doughty before Boylan's drilled effort was saved at point blank range by Coburn.
Boro thought they had finally got themselves level seven minutes from time when Scott Laird had the ball in the back of the net. Bostwick's deep cross was headed back across to Laird to nod home but the referee's assistant deemed Griffin to be in an offside position.
But Stevenage would not be denied and Bostwick's brilliant header from Laird's cross earned Boro a share of the spoils.
Lee Boylan almost won it with a volley from the edge of the area but Coburn scrambled across his goal to parry around the post.
Boro (4-4-2): Day 6, Odhiambo 7, Bostwick 7, Roberts 7, Laird 7, Drury 6 (Vincenti 70, 6), Brough 6, Murphy 6 (Long 60, 7), Cole 6, Boylan 6, Beardsley 6 (Griffin 46, 7). Subs not used: Bayes, Odubade.
Altrincham (4-4-2): Coburn 7, Densmore 6, Smith 7, Williams 7, Doughty 6, Denham 7, Danylyk 6, Kearney 7, Sheridan 6 (Clee 70), Burns 7 (Welch 80), Senior 6. Subs not used: Saunders, Hefferman, Pearson.
Referee: M Bull