Fantastic Boro hit five against sorry Owls

Boro secure remarkable win over Sheffield Wednesday

Stevenage 5

Reid 6, Mousinho 10, Bostwick 17, Wilson 38, Charles 67

Sheffield Wednesday 1

Madine 75

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GRAHAM WESTLEY highlighted in his programme notes the need for his team to be more ruthless in front of goal – but surely even he couldn’t have foreseen the manner in which his team would put Sheffield Wednesday to the sword on what was a fantastic night for Stevenage Football Club.

In a simply remarkable first half of football, Boro found themselves four goals up after 38 minutes thanks to goals from Craig Reid, John Mousinho, Michael Bostwick and Lawrie Wilson.

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And they weren’t finished their as Darius Charles’ second half strike made it five to the Boro. A late consolation from Gary Madine did nothing to dampen the mood at the Lamex Stadium as Boro secured one of the most memorable victories in their history.

Boro raced out of the blocks from the first whistle and nearly took the lead in the first minute. Scott Laird’s in-swinging free-kick somehow found its way to an unmarked Bostwick at the far post but his instinctive header was parried onto the post by goalkeeper Richard O’Donnell.

Stacy Long was next to go close for Boro when he received the ball on the edge of the penalty box following good build-up play from Wilson and Ronnie Henry. However the midfielder’s side-footed effort was deflected narrowly wide for a corner.

Even in these early stages it was difficult to believe this was the same Sheffield Wednesday that had turned over high-flying MK Dons so easily just three days previously.

Boro’s first goal arrived after six minutes through Reid. Fellow striker Charles showed power and composure to carry the ball through the middle of the park, before the ball found its way to Bostwick 30 yards from goal. His powerful, low shot was spilled by O’Donnell into the path of the onrushing Reid who smashed home from three yards.

Boro continued to force the issue and were rewarded with their second goal just four minutes later. Wednesday were caught out by a swift counter-attack that resulted in Mousinho bursting clear of the defence before smashing a superb shot past O’Donnell from 16 yards.

It was hard to tell if Wednesday were that poor or that Boro were just that good. However Westley’s side continued to press forward and the roof came off the Lamex Stadium in the 17th minute when Boro scored their third. Mousinho showed good awareness to pick out Bostwick, who had snuck up from the back, from a corner, and despite being off balanced, the midfielder hit a sweet half-volley that flew into the goal off O’Donnell’s left-hand post from 25 yards out.

Bostwick looked as surprised as anyone that his effort had found the net, such was the awkward nature of the shot.

Nevertheless Boro were in complete control and all Gary Megson could do was shake his head in disbelief at what he was witnessing from the sidelines. His team had simply no answer to Boro’s tenacity all over the pitch and the ruthlessness they were being subjected to.

It was clear for all to see that the visitors had completely crumbled mentally, and Boro were in no mood to show any shred of sympathy as they scored their fourth goal with only 38 minutes on the clock. Another Boro attack resulted in Mousinho’s shot being spilt by the shaken O’Donnell into the path of Wilson who guided the ball home from close range.

Remarkably, the visiting supporters had remained supportive of their desolate team at three-nil, but their mood quickly turned sour after the fourth goal went in. Hundreds of fans decided they had seen enough and began making their way out of the stadium. Those that stayed began to taunt the players with chants such as ‘you’re not fit to wear the shirt’.

Boro could have scored one or two more before the first half came to a close, but there was no doubt this was one of the finest 45 minutes of football this club’s supporters have witnessed.

God only knows what Megson will have said to his players at half-time, but his decision to make three substitutions spoke volumes.

Boro began the second half just as they had the first – brimming with confidence and self-belief. Yes the game had been won, but the home team remained eager to go for the jugular and add to their score.

And they did on 67 minutes through Charles who scored a goal of sheer class. The full-back-cum-striker received the ball from Wilson inside the box, before showing excellent close control and skill to turn and place the ball into the bottom corner.

To say Wednesday’s performance was beyond embarrassing for a club of their stature would be an understatement. Usually when teams find themselves in such precarious situations, the least they can do is play for lost pride. Sadly, for Wednesday supporters, this was just not the case.

However they were finally given something to cheer about when Madine pulled a goal back for the visitors in the 75th minute after being played in by Jose Semedo.

As the game petered out Wednesday hit the crossbar through a long-range attempt from Jermaine Johnson. However if the visitors’ night hadn’t become shameful enough, it got worse four minutes from time when Jermaine Johnson was shown a straight red card after kicking out at Laird off the ball.

Sheffield Wednesday’s plight in recent years has been well-documented, but this result will surely go down as one of the all-time low points in the club’s history.

Stevenage, though, are a club riding the crest of a wave and this result will not go unnoticed by the rest of the teams in League 1.

Stevenage (4-4-2): Day; Henry, Ashton, Roberts (c), Laird; Wilson, Mousinho (Walker 55), Bostwick, Long (Myrie-Williams 66); Charles, Reid (Edwards 77).

Substitutes not used: Julian, Beardsley.

Sheffield Wednesday (4-4-2): O’Donnell; Buxton, Batth, Jones (c) (R Johnson 45), Bennett (J Johnson 45); Palmer, Prutton (O’Connor 45), Semedo, Marshall; Morrison, Madine.

Substitutes not used: Jameson, Lines.

Referee: Mr D. Sheldrake

Attendance: 4,339 (1,337)

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