Early goal seals all three points for Boro

LEE Boylan grabbed the winner as Stevenage Borough kept up the chase on Oxford United at the top of the Blue Square Premier with a 1-0 win over Forest Green on Saturday afternoon. The striker, starting the game as part of a three-man attack alongside Chri

LEE Boylan grabbed the winner as Stevenage Borough kept up the chase on Oxford United at the top of the Blue Square Premier with a 1-0 win over Forest Green on Saturday afternoon.

The striker, starting the game as part of a three-man attack alongside Chris Beardsley and Yemi Odubade as Graham Westley shuffled his pack following the midweek FA Cup defeat to Port Vale, headed home after seven minutes after getting on to the end of an Andy Drury cross.

On a weekend when promotion hopefuls Kettering, Mansfield and Luton all dropped points, the win took Boro three points clear in second spot and got them back to winning ways following their loss against Micky Adams' Vale on Tuesday evening.

Of the team that began that game, Westley was without Jon Ashton through injury and Charlie Griffin through illness while David Bridges was given a rest from the heart of the midfield and Mitchell Cole was dropped to the bench.


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In their places, the Boro boss brought in Beardsley and Boylan to join Odubade up front while Joel Byrom and Darren Murphy were brought into the centre of the park with Michael Bostwick dropping into defence to partner Mark Roberts in the poor playing conditions.

Boro began on the front foot and penned their opponents back before Boylan headed home on the six yard box.

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After the opener efforts from Beardsley, Murphy and Odubade kept Green on their toes and Odubade and Ronnie Henry were caused all types of problems for the Green defence down the right.

Despite Boro's penetration they were unable to force the ball over the line a second time and although at the other end they were able to keep their ninth clean sheet of the league campaign in just 20 matches, they didn't have things all their own way.

Conal Platt hit Boro's post after Bostwick had been penalised for bringing down Jonathan Smith on the edge of Boro's box and the introduction of both Oliver Thorne and Paul Stonehouse at the beginning of the second half gave Dave Hockaday's side a lift.

The worsening conditions, with some standing water on the pitch making life difficult, meant for a tough second half for both teams.

Beardlsey managed to hit a free kick against the post and Henry also hit the woodwork with a terrific 30-yard effort, but Green's only real effort in the remainder of the match saw David Brown send a long range shot inches wide of Day's post and with that miss went Green's chances of clawing something back from the tie.

Forest Green: Burton, Hodgkiss, Preece, O'Cearuill (Thorne, 46), McDonald (Stonehouse, 46), Smith, Rocastle, Brown, Powell, Rigg, Platt (Joyce, 79). Subs: Pass, King.

Boro: Day, Henry, Bostwick, Roberts, Laird, Drury (Odhiambo, 56), Murphy, Byrom, Boylan (Cole, 81), Beardsley, Odubade (Vincenti, 73). Subs: Bayes, Albrighton.

Attendance: 757

Referee: M Heywood.

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