Charlie Griffin puts Boro one win away from the Football League
SUPER Sub Charlie Griffin came off the bench to hit the goal which put Stevenage Borough within three points of the Blue Square Premier title on Wednesday evening. The substitute was only on the pitch for five minutes when he tapped home inside the six ya
SUPER Sub Charlie Griffin came off the bench to hit the goal which put Stevenage Borough within three points of the Blue Square Premier title on Wednesday evening.
The substitute was only on the pitch for five minutes when he tapped home inside the six yard box after Altrincham 'keeper Russell Saunders fumbled Ronnie Henry's header, and his goal means Boro need just one win from their last three games to win promotion to the Football League.
Griffin had started on the bench as manager Graham Westley brought back Yemi Odubade to his starting line-up in place of Chris Beardsley. David Bridges, too, was back in the mix having been preferred ahead of Stacy Long who dropped to the bench.
Tim Sills continued up front for Boro and he started well, sending a header wide in the opening exchanges. Ronnie Henry also had an effort at goal as he hit a right footed shot too high but Altrincham's five defenders restricted the space behind their back line and forced Boro to play in front of them.
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Boro's first chance on target came on 12 minutes when captain Mark Roberts sent a header towards goal from a corner only to see the ball cleared off the line, but just minutes later the hosts went close to taking the lead themselves when Robbie Lawton hit a superb right-footed effort just over the bar from 25 yards.
Sills then went close but again was off target after being set up by Bridges before Joel Byrom set up Andy Drury who pulled the ball wide when he should have hit the target.
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Boro were made to work for the openings as their hosts sat back and played on the counter and their tactics almost paid off on 35 minutes when Chris Senior had the best chance of the first half only to head, unmarked, on to Chris Day's bar.
The second half started slowly with both teams' passing letting them down, but it burst into life when Bridges' quick reactions saw him get a head onto a Jon Ashton flick and the midfielder nodded it just over the bar much to the disappointment of the visiting supporters.
Boro continued to push forward without much success as boss Graham Westley tried to instil in his players the need to hold the ball but the home side stuck to their tactics and were successful in keeping Boro at bay.
Westley brought on Lawrie Wilson for David Bridges to attempt to inject some pace into the game, but when that didn't work the Boro boss turned to Griffin to use his strength to create space.
Instead it was he who found space and just as he had forced Grays Athletic into conceding what was, for Boro, a winning own goal just three weeks ago Griffin once again answered his manager's call with the simplest of tap-ins on 83 minutes in front of the Boro supporters to put his side within touching distance of promotion.
Boro (4-4-2): Day 6, Laird 6, Henry 7, Roberts 7, Ashton 7, Bridges 6 (Wilson 7, 59), Bostwick 6, Drury 7, Byrom 6, Sills 7 (Vincenti, 90), Odubade 6 (Griffin, 78). Subs: Bayes, Wilson, Long.