Full-time report: Stevenage 2 Crawley Town 0
- Credit: Archant
Goals from Peter Hartley and Michael Doughty help Boro to a fourth win in five in all competitions
Stevenage continued their slow rise out of the depths of League 1 with a 2-0 win over Crawley Town on Saturday afternoon.
It was not as convincing a performance as the 3-0 demolition of Crewe Alexandra midweek, but there were some outstanding individual performances including from goalkeeper Chris Day and man of the match Michael Doughty who capped his display with the second goal of the match in the 90th minute.
It is a sign of improvement from Graham Westley’s side that they are now winning those games that they do not necessarily dominate, and from being second bottom after the 1-0 home defeat to Coventry City at the start of October Boro now look towards November having taken four wins from their last five matches in all competitions.
Stevenage went into the match unchanged, the first time they had done so since the Capital One Cup match at Everton, and it meant that Filipe Morais, outstanding at Crewe, maintained his place in an advanced position alongside Francois Zoko.
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Boro’s players had spoken about the need to start games on the front foot but it was the visitors who did just that, Kyle Bennett forcing Chris Day into action inside the first minute with the Boro goalkeeper diving to his right to push the ball away from danger.
Stevenage went ahead on nine minutes, and it was from a set piece. Jon Ashton had sprayed a long pass out to Luke Freeman out on the left, but the ball was nudged out for a corner.
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Up stepped Greg Tansey to find the head of Peter Hartley and the full-back powered his header home past Paul Jones to give his side the early advantage.
Crawley played some neat football at times, but it took until the last five minutes of the half for them to test Day again.
Firstly Nicky Adams had the goalkeeper scampering to his left, only for the low shot to fizz just wide of goal.
Doughty then lost the ball in midfield to Bennett, and after the midfielder broke towards the Boro goal he set up Dannie Bulman who fired wide when he should have buried his effort past Day.
And then, with a minute to go, Josh Simpson forced a superb save out of the Boro goalkeeper, the Crawley skipper’s low drive from distance taking a deflection only for Day to save when the visiting fans behind his goal had thought it had snuck past him.
Crawley began the second half in the same manner that they had finished the first, and when Adams was put through on goal, to the left, he put the ball past Day only for the covering defender, Ashton, to clear off the line.
There were then two chances for Stevenage and both fell to Freeman with the first a sliding shot over the bar and the second another effort also off target after the winger had cut in from the left.
Town made a double change with Jamie Proctor and Emile Sinclair coming on for Bulman and Gary Alexander, and it was Proctor who set up Simpson only for his skipper’s shot to take a deflection and go wide of goal.
Boro also made a change with Freeman making way for Bruno Andrade, and the on-loan QPR winger had a chance to double his side’s lead but after picking up the ball on the halfway line and making a dash for it he fired wide of goal from the edge of the box.
Stevenage were now playing on the break, but they almost conceded from a corner when Tansey accidentally nudged the ball towards his goal only for Jimmy Smith to clear off the line. The visitors then played a short corner and James Hurst, on for Mike Jones, stung the palms of Day.
Yet for all of their endeavour Crawley failed to find the net, and when Doughty found himself in the box, alone and in the 90th minute, he drilled the ball past Paul Jones to make it a happy return to the Lamex after a week spent on the road for Graham Westley’s men.
Stevenage: Day, Hartley, Smith, Ashton, Jones, Heslop, Doughty, Tansey (Dunne 88), Freeman (Andrade 78), Morais (Burrow 64), Zoko. Subs: Arnold, Wedgbury, Parrett, Tounkara.
Crawley Town: Jones, Sadler, McFadzean, Alexander (Sinclair 68), Simpson, Drury, Walsh, Bulman (Proctor 68), Adams, Jones (Hurst 81), Bennett. Subs: Maddison, Essam, Connolly, Torres.
Ref: Richard Clark