GALLERY: Griffin double helps Boro to first League win
Michael Bostwick also on target as Stevenage sink Stockport
Stockport County 1
npower League 2
A CHARLIE Griffin brace and a screamer from Michael Bostwick saw Stevenage register their first win of the season against Stockport County on Saturday afternoon.
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Griffin’s 30th minute looping header put his side ahead and Bostwick hit a trademark sensational strike just before the break to put Boro in a dominant position by half time.
Griffin then scored his third of the season with a tap-in on 71 minutes before a late consolation goal from George Donnelly put a slight blemish on proceedings as it meant Boro had failed to keep a clean sheet for a fourth consecutive game but it was the points that mattered and Boro took all of them.
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Stevenage made two changes from the previous week’s defeat at Bradford City with Yemi Odubade, injured in that game, failing to recover in time to make the squad while Joel Byrom was dropped to the bench.
In their places came debutant Darius Charles and Mark Roberts’ central defensive partner from last season Jon Ashton, who had recovered from his hip problems, while Finnish striker Njazi Kuqi, once of Birmingham City, was among the substitutes.
Stockport’s Mansour Assoumani had the first chance of the match on four minutes but his header failed to trouble Chris Day in the Stevenage goal and five minutes later Bostwick gave County a taste of things to come when he unleashed a fine shot which tested Owain fon Williams in the Stockport goal.
Griffin looked lively and on one occasion fon Williams was forced to dive at the striker’s feet to stop him from getting a shot off.
At the other end Greg Tansey went close with a free kick but his effort took a nick off a Boro player and deflected wide for a corner and David Poole shot well wide minutes later.
With vocal support behind them Boro continued to push and they finally opened the scoring on the half-hour mark.
Ronnie Henry brought the ball across the half way line and looked up to see Griffin make a run towards the box.
He hit his foot across the ball and pinged the pass of the game diagonally across the pitch to the striker who rose highest to loop his header over fon Williams and into the far corner. It was a terrific header.
Poole had another chance soon after but mis-kicked his effort and two minutes before the break Boro doubled their lead.
Rob Sinclair collected the ball and ran down the right of the pitch before sending a cross into the box.
The ball was cleared as far as Bostwick who ran onto it and sent it screaming into the roof of the net. There are fewer, if any, better strikers of the ball at this level.
County have not won away from home since February and trailing by two goals at the break it would take only a foolhardy betting man to have backed them to pull this one back.
Chris Beardsley almost made sure of a Boro win when he sent a header towards goal only to see his effort cleared near the line and his colleagues’ confidence began to show as they held on to the ball well.
County did have further efforts at the Stevenage goal – Assoumani’s header hit the far post and the same player went close moments later only to see another header go wide of the goal – but Boro looked good for the win and made sure of all three points when Griffin scored his second on 71 minutes.
Henry again provided the ball from the right and his low pass found Beardsley who turned and shot across goal and Griffin tapped home unmarked and onside at the far post.
Graham Westley brought on Peter Winn for Charles with 10 minutes to go and also brought on Kuqi for a five minute run-out soon afterwards for Griffin.
Bostwick went close again and Beardsley had a shot flipped away by Williams before Donnelly grabbed a goal for County which, not for the first time this season, was manufactured down Boro’s right flank.
Boro deserved a win at Bradford last weekend and came away with nothing but they put that disappointment behind them and were thoroughly deserved winners against County.
Stevenage (4-4-2): Day 7, Henry 7, Charles 7 (Winn, 79), Roberts 7, Ashton 6, Sinclair 6, Bostwick 8, Mousinho 7, Laird 7, Beardsley 7 (Wilson, 90), Griffin 8 (Kuqi, 84). Subs not used: Bayes, Foster, Byrom, Bridges.
Stockport (4-4-2): fon Williams 6, Lynch 6, Swailes 6, Assoumani 7, Turnbull 6, Tansey 7, Griffin 6, Poole 6, Conlon 6 (Pilkinton, 72), Donnelly 6, Proctor 5 (Fisher, 59 6). Subs not used: Ormson, Rowe, Vincent, Partridge, Mainwaring.
Referee: Rob Lewis.
Attendance: 2,726 (343 away)
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