GALLERY: Boro clinch first away win as Holroyd nets on his debut
Lincoln 0 Stevenage 1
BORO secured their first away win of the season and few could argue it was anything less than they deserved.
With on loan signing Chris Holroyd scoring on his Boro debut and the visitors holding firm with few scares throughout this clash, it was little wonder that boss Graham Westley had cause to smile after the match, especially as his new signing had proved the difference.
‘‘This win is all credit to the players. We have not been disheartened even though we have gone away to places such as Bradford and Cheltenham and not come back with the points when we have deserved it.
‘‘Chris is everything that we need at the moment. He has pace, can get his shots away and is ruthless in front of goal.’’
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Lincoln looked intent to make their mark early and came close with less than 30 seconds on the clock. With Boro on the backfoot it was Cian Hughton who found space on the right and his drive went narrowly wide, causing the side netting to ripple.
With that warning behind them, the visitors settled well and new man Holroyd marked his debut with an energetic display, getting among the Imps defence and drawing fouls.
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Boro began to ask questions of the home side with Griffin firing a shot wide on six minutes while Jon Ashton saw a looping header from a deep Ronnie Henry free kick go wide of the far post.
Lincoln enjoyed their best spell on the half hour mark when they forged two efforts which look set to find the net.
The first was cleared in the six yard box by Lawrie Wilson for and from the resulting corner the home fans looked to be celebrating a goal, Moses Swaibu guiding a free header past the stranded Chris Day only for Griffin to head the ball off the line.
The Boro boss called for calm among his side and he was to have a major say as his side took the lead on 39 minutes. With a throw deep in the Lincoln half, Westley took the opportunity to bring on Peter Winn in a tactical switch for Scott Laird
The move had an immediate impact however, and with the home side still reorganising its marking Charles’ throw found it way on to the head of Ashton whose flick on found Griffin and his touch down was drilled high into the net by the delighted Holroyd.
Buoyed by the goal, Boro surged forward before the break and could have doubled their lead in added time in the first half, Griffin forcing a fine save from keeper Joe Anyon with a powerful close range header.
Lincoln needed to up their game in the second period but almost from the outset it appeared that Boro simply looked too strong at the back. Day was called upon to make his most meaningful contribution on 57 minutes when he clawed away a deep cross into the box which looked set to find two Lincoln heads which were uncharacteristically unmarked.
For their part Boro not only soaked up the pressure but also posed enough of a threat at the other end.
Indeed Charles almost came up with a goal of the season as he dribbled the ball from one end of the pitch to the other before inexplicably trying to pass when he should have shot from the edge of the home side’s box.
Griffin and Holroyd kept the home defence on their toes, Griffin twice putting wide while Wilson also thought he had found the net when he unleashed a long range effort 13 minutes from the end which had Anyon scurrying.
As the frustration increased among the home fans, Boro proved more stubborn and they survived their final scare with just six minutes remaining. A deep ball in from the left found it’s way between the central pairing and sub Gavin McCallum thought he had done enough, flicking a header past Day only for the ball to go narrowly wide of the post.
In the end, despite five minutes of added time nothing was to deny the hardworking visitors their first away win of the season. Indeed it was ironic that as referee Kevin Wright blew the final whistle Lawrie Wilson was deep in the Lincoln half leading a two on one charge which might have delivered a deserved second.
Anyon, Hughton, Watts, Swaibu, Anderson, Keltie, Clapham (Broughton 75), O’Keefe, Carayol (McCallum 54), Jarrett, Hutchinson (Facey 86).
Day, Wilson, Laird (Winn 39, Foster 82), Charles, Ashton, Henry, Mousinho, Long (Sinclair 72), Bostwick, Griffin, Holroyd.
Subs not used: Odubade, Maamria, Vincenti, Bayes.
Visiting fans: 326
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