Controversial decision denies Boro victory

Stevenage held to goalless draw by lowly Yeovil

Stevenage 0

Yeovil Town 0

npower League One

A CONTROVERSIAL refereeing decision seven minutes from time denied Boro the three points against Yeovil Town.

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It looked like Mark Roberts had sealed a late win for Stevenage when he fired home from close range following Scott Laird’s corner. However the referee disallowed the almost certain match-winning strike to award Boro a penalty after Luke Ayling had blocked Chris Beardsley’s header on the line with his arm a second before Roberts knocked home the rebound. And instead of allowing the goal to stand, referee Iain Williamson opted to award Stevenage the penalty and show Ayling a straight red card. John Mousinho’s subsequent spot-kick was well saved by Marek Stech to leave Boro feeling they had been denied a legitimate goal.

It was a decision that clearly angered the Boro players and supporters when the sensible solution would have been to allow the goal to stand. But it wasn’t, and Boro missed the chance to seal back-to-back wins in what was a dull afternoon at the Lamex Stadium.

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The match started slowly with neither side able to settle into any decent rhythm. It was the visitors who had the first sight of goal on eight minutes when a cross-shot from Gavin Massey on the right wing looped over Chris Day and skimmed across the face of the crossbar.

Despite Boro enjoying the lion’s share of possession early on, they looked susceptible on the counter-attack and a quick breakaway from Massey following a broken down move from Boro resulted in Kieran Agard dragging an effort from the edge of the box narrowly wide of Day’s left-hand post.

Boro’s first chance came on 16 minutes when Craig Reid’s header from Byron Harrison’s knock was well blocked off the line by Darren Purse with goalkeeper Stech beaten.

Boro continued to struggle to find any fluidity in their passing and they were nearly punished on two occasions in quick succession following mistakes by Lawrie Wilson. On 24 minutes Maclean pounced on a poor touch by Wilson before sending Agard clean though on goal with only Day to beat. However the Yeovil striker somehow contrived to blast his effort over the crossbar from eight yards to let Boro off the hook.

And two minutes later another poor touch by Wilson allowed Maclean to set Agard through on goal again with a ball over the top that caught out the flat-footed Boro back-line. However Day was quick off his line and he did enough to send Agard wide of goal before the opportunity came to nothing.

Boro’s best chance of the first half came 10 minutes before the break. Michael Bostwick found Long on the left with a superb defence-splitting pass and his low cross found Harrison unmarked. However the striker’s first time shot from close range was excellently parried away by Stech.

The second half began at a similar pace to the first – slow and lethargic – and it took until the 58th minute for Boro to create their next chance. Mousinho burst from midfield to latch onto Harrison’s knock and despite entering the box and getting a shot away, his effort was never troubling Stech who got down well to his right.

Harrison missed a gilt-edged chance to break the deadlock on the hour mark. Laird’s miskicked cross was miscued by a Yeovil defender straight to Harrison who was completely unmarked 10 yards from goal. However a heavy touch allowed Stech to narrow the angle and Harrison fired his effort wide of the post when he should have scored.

Yeovil were offering very little in terms of attack as the game wore on and Boro began to look more likely to find the breakthrough with Reid, in particular, looking lively in and around the box.

The main talking point arrived in the 83rd minute when Roberts’ goal was chalked off by the referee before Mousinho saw his penalty saved – his second miss from the spot in three games.

But despite the decision, Boro continued to probe for the elusive goal. Laird hit a shot wide from 20 yards before Beardsley saw his towering header fly agonisingly wide of the far post in the final minute.

In the end it just wasn’t Stevenage’s afternoon. They certainly didn’t perform to their best but the controversial decision by the referee will leave them thinking this was a case of two points dropped.

Stevenage (4-4-2): Day; Henry, Roberts (c), Ashton, Laird; Wilson, Bostwick, Mousinho, Long (Shroot 57); Harrison (Beardsley 78), Reid.

Subs not used: Julian, Byrom, Edwards.

Yeovil Town (4-1-4-1): Stech; Ayling, Purse, N’Gala, Ehmer; Wotton; Massey (Haynes-Barnes 84), Maclean (Blizzard 45), Upson, Johnson (Gibson 66); Agard.

Subs not used: Gilbert, Stewart.

Att: 3,036

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