Fantastic four in a fightback
Stevenage Boro 4 Cambridge United 1 MARCUS CRAWLEY reports WINNING becomes a habit and Boro emphasised that in abundance in this Conference victory. The scoreline gives a misleading impression as the struggling Us were the better team for much of the firs
Stevenage Boro 4 Cambridge United 1
MARCUS CRAWLEY reports
WINNING becomes a habit and Boro emphasised that in abundance in this Conference victory.
The scoreline gives a misleading impression as the struggling Us were the better team for much of the first hour before capitulating in spectacular fashion.
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You would have got long odds on a 4-1 win for the home side at the break as Jimmy Quinn's side deservedly held the advantage.
But it was Boro first out of the blocks as the usual superb delivery from Steve Guppy, this time from a free-kick, saw Steve Morison's flicked header fingertipped over by Shane Herbert.
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Top scorer Morison enjoyed a frustrating afternoon although he finally managed to get on the scoresheet late on after half a dozen previous opportunities went begging.
United featured Boro old boys Dean Hooper, who was making his debut, and Jon Brady.
Hooper was booed from the outset and Aussie Brady, another victim of the Graham Westley years, ensured the same treatment by first fouling Adam Miller and then continuing to mouth off throughout the half.
After new striker Jamie Slabber's heavy touch had wasted a chance for Boro, the visitors went ahead after 25 minutes.
Courtney's Pitt inswinging corner was headed back by Mark Peters and former Premiership star Dean Holdsworth nodded home.
This was the cue for United to dominate the remaining minutes of the half as a Peters header drifted just wide from another corner, skipper Ronnie Henry cleared off the line from a Brady shot and Wayne Purser shot straight at Alan Julian when he could have done better.
Boro needed a lift and the pace of Dale Binns replaced the poise of Guppy at the break.
This was after some unpleasant scenes as the players trooped off which led to United boss Quinn being banished to the stands for the second period.
It was United who still held sway in the early minutes of the second half and went so close to doubling their advantage.
Holdsworth's legs may have gone but his brain is still sharp. He sent a piledriver which rattled against the underside of the bar before Brady looked destined to score from the rebound.
Julian had other ideas and the athletic keeper eventually clutched Brady's follow-up header.
Boro levelled 10 minutes into the half from the penalty spot and never looked back.
Hooper was penalised for handball as Slabber attempted to flick the ball over him and Jon Nutter held his nerve from the spot.
Boro got up a head of steam as United wilted and Slabber and Morison (twice) threatened.
Luke Oliver has been used as an 'impact' player by Boro boss Mark Stimson and he certainly proved his worth in this game after replacing Slabber with 20 minutes to go.
The beanpole defender partnered Morison up front and was a central figure in Boro's next two goals.
Within seconds of coming on, he laid the ball into the path of Mark Beard to arrow a shot into the bottom corner.
Three minutes later, the points were virtually secured as Oliver's initial shot was blocked but the ball ran loose for sub Binns to stroke home.
And two minutes from time, Morison finally broke his duck for the day as Miller played him in and the striker buried a shot beyond Herbert to make it a flattering scoreline.