Defensive errors cost Boro

Boro suffer second heavy home defeat in a row

Stevenage 1

Tansey 15

Preston North End 4

Beavon 6, King 32, Monakana 58, Wroe 73

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Sevenage failed to build on Tuesday night’s win over Yeovil as they succumbed to a heavy defeat at home to Preston North End this afternoon.

Poor defending was an unfortunate theme for Gary Smith’s team against a Preston side that took full advantage, and for the second home game in a row Boro conceded four goals – a worrying trend that Smith will need to address if Stevenage are to maintain their place at the top end of the table.

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The afternoon began in embarrassing fashion as the attempt to hold a minute’s silence to mark Remembrance Day went horribly, horribly wrong. The match announcer called the crowd to begin the silence a good 30 seconds or so before the referee was ready. When Stuart Attwell did eventually blow his whistle to signal the start of the official silence, the supporters interpreted this as the end. Cue plenty of confused and uncomfortable faces in the stands as those in attendance didn’t know whether to clap or remain silence.

And from Boro’s point of view, the match itself began in similarly cringe-worthy fashion as Preston took the lead after just six minutes following a defensive mix-up. Preston had possession on the edge of the Stevenage penalty area, and with no danger apparent, skipper Mark Roberts inadvertently deflected a through-ball into danger, with the loose ball falling to Beavon who side-footed the ball past Steve Arnold from 18 yards.

It was far from the finest example of defending you’ll ever see, and things would get worse for Roberts in particular later in the half.

His team responded well, though, and were level within 10 minutes through another trademark stunner from Greg Tansey. Filipe Morais raised his hands as to signal he was about to deliver the ball into the box from a corner. However he played it short to James Dunne who drew away the marker on the edge of the box, before squaring to Tansey.

The former Stockport County man took a touch, steadied himself, and curled a sublime effort into the top left-hand corner from 20 yards. A brilliant finish.

The goal gave the hosts a confidence boost as they looked to get a grip of the game, and they should have taken the lead on 22 minutes following neat link-up play between Marcus Haber and his strike partner Lucas Akins. The Canadian played a nice one-two with Akins to be put through on goal, but his final touch let him down and Simonsen gathered the ball at the Stevenage man’s feet.

Chances were at a premium for both sides in truth, but Preston were gradually imposing themselves on their hosts, with Jeffrey Monakana in particular proving a threat down the left hand side.

And it was from the young winger that Preston scored their second goal. The 18-year-old former Arsenal player beat Tansey far too easily on the side of the box, before squaring to King who hit what looked to be a weak, low effort that Arnold would gather without too much fuss. But the keeper didn’t bank on Roberts hanging out a leg and diverting the ball into the net for another soft, soft goal for the visitors.

The second half began with Preston looking more assured in possession, and they scored their third goal on 58 minutes following more suspect defending. Danger-man Monakana was allowed to simply walk through the heart of the midfield 30 yards from goal, all the way to the edge of the box, before hitting a low shot that crept into the bottom corner past Arnold.

Boro now found themselves getting stretched as they chased the game, and largely resorted to a long ball game that simply didn’t trouble the visitors. Boro were pushing bodies forward at every opportunity, and Preston looked dangerous on the counter-attack with the extra energy of John Mousinho in the middle of the park and Monakana on the wing.

Preston’s fourth goal arrived on 73 minutes when Nicky Wroe strode through the middle of the park – just like Monakana had done with the previous goal – before firing an unstoppable shot past Arnold from 25 yards.

With the match now over as a contest, Preston made life difficult for the downbeat Boro by playing keep-ball for long periods, and Arnold had to be at his best to palm away a fierce shot from Beavon as Preston continued to create chances at regular intervals.

Despite the introduction of Luke Freeman and Robin Shroot, Boro were unable to put any substantial pressure on the Lilywhites who eased to victory.

Stevenage (4-4-2): Arnold; Gray, Roberts (c), N’Gala, Charles; Grant, Dunne, Morais (Freeman 67), Tansey (Agyemang 60); Akins, Haber (Shroot 79).

Subs not used: Day, Hills, Rogers, Risser.

Preston North End (4-4-2): Simonsen; Keane, Laird, Robertson, Wright; Monakana (Buchanan 81), Wroe, Welsh (c), Holmes (Mousinho 63); King, Beavon.

Subs not used: Stuckmann, Cummins, Sodje, Byrom, Procter.

Referee: Mr S Attwell

Attendance: 3,740 (556).

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