Boylan fires Boro into play-offs
Stevenage Boro 3 Kidderminster Harriers 1 Boro clawed their way back into a play-off spot this evening with a wonderful display of attacking football to dispose of Kidderminster Harriers. Lee Boylan was the Stevenage hero as his second half double ensur
Stevenage Boro 3 Kidderminster Harriers 1
Boro clawed their way back into a play-off spot this evening with a wonderful display of attacking football to dispose of Kidderminster Harriers.
Lee Boylan was the Stevenage hero as his second half double ensured Boro kept their play-off destiny in their hands as they head to Mansfield on Sunday.
Steve Morison set Boro on their way with a classy fourth-minute finish and the former Northampton man looked back to his best all evening.
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Boro were pegged back just before half time when Justin Richards scored against the run of play but Boylan was at his predatory best in the second period.
The ex-West Ham trainee showed his class with a 20-yard effort in the 48th minute before finishing off Harriers' challenge from close range after good work from Mitchell Cole.
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Gary Mills was surprisingly dropped from the squad altogether despite an impressive performance against Torquay United on Saturday.
Mark Albrighton came in at the midfielder's expense meaning Michael Bostwick was pushed into the Boro engine room alongside Darren Murphy while Andy Drury was handed his first start since returning from a hamstring injury in place of Lawrie Wilson, who was named among the substitutes.
Just like at Aggborough, Boro made a dream start and went ahead in the fourth minute thanks to a typical poacher's finish from Morison.
Some lovely approach play down the right by Boylan and Ronnie Henry got the defender around the back of the Harriers back four and his cross caused havoc in the penalty area.
The ball zipped around the penalty area like a pinball as Kidderminster desperately tried to clear the danger until Cole's blocked snapshot ran into the path of Morison, who calmly hooked the ball into the back of the net with 'keeper Adam Bartlett stranded.
Morison was clearly in the mood for goals having gone through a barren spell recently and he almost doubled his tally on the night in the 11th minute.
Andy Drury won a drop ball out on the right wing and the ball bounced towards Morison on the touchline before he unleashed a fearsome strike with the outside of his right boot that cannoned off the crossbar.
Millwall boss Kenny Jackett was in attendance and he would have definitely liked what he was seeing.
Kidderminster weathered the early storm from Boro and slowly inched their way back into the contest with Chris McPhee testing the handling of Chris Day in the 27th minute with a long range free-kick.
But Morison was proving to be a constant thorn in the side of Kiddy's defence and he was desperately unlucky not to get his second on the half-hour mark.
Morison raced on to Cole's long ball over the top before outmuscling Lee Baker and suddenly he was bearing down on goal. The 25-year-old looked all set to bury his 30th of the season but his low shot was well saved by Bartlett.
The miss almost came back to haunt Boro in the 37th minute when Richards evaded the attention of Albrighton on the left flank before cutting in and shooting low but Day saved well at his near post.
But Boro didn't heed the warning and, in added time at the end of the first period, Richards levelled matters. Matthew Barnes-Homer, who had been anonymous for much of the half, played a clever pass into his strike partner, who coolly checked inside Roberts and fired past Day.
Westley must have wondered just how he was giving a half time team talk with his side all square.
But within three minutes of the second half his side were back in front thanks to a wonderful strike by Boylan.
Drury released the former Cambridge man in midfield and he drove at the defence, who continued to back off allowing Boylan to drive home from 20 yards.
Yates would have been fuming with his side for not getting close to the striker and the 30-year-old made them pay with a stylish strike.
The Harriers' boss' mood would not have improved just before the hour-mark when his side were denied what looked a certain penalty.
McPhee stole the ball off the toe of Laird inside the penalty area and the former Plymouth man appeared to haul the midfielder down. The Lamex Stadium held its breath as all eyes turned to the referee but he waved away the visitors' appeals.
It was the piece of luck Boro needed and in the 65th minute Boro made it 3-1. Drury spread the play out to Cole and his pinpoint cross was met by Boylan, who coolly flicked the ball in off the post to seal three crucial points for his side.
Morison could have got his second in the 75th minute when his instant control inside the penalty area took him past Martin Riley but his right-footed shot flew into the side-netting.
Henry almost got in on the act with a 20-yard strike from the corner of the penalty area but Bartlett held well and the Harriers 'keeper had to make a smart save late on to deny substitute Junior Mendes.
Boro (4-4-2): Day 7, Henry 7, Albrighton 7, Roberts 7, Laird 7, Drury 8 (Wilson 68), Murphy 7, Bostwick 7, Cole 7 (Mendes 82), Boylan 8 (Willock 90), Morison 8. Subs not used: Bayes, Vincenti.
Kidderminster Harriers (4-4-2): Bartlett 6, Lowe 6 (Knights 76), Creighton 5, Riley 5, Baker 6, Brittain 5, Bennett 6, McPhee 7, Penn 6 (Smikle 68), Richards 7, Barnes-Homer 6 (Moore 88). Subs not used: Ferrell, Jones.
Referee: Brendan Malone (Wiltshire)