GALLERY: Vincenti etches name in Boro folklore
Boro take point from opening game of the season
Stevenage 2 Macclesfield Town 2
PETER Vincenti – remember the name.
Charlie Griffin may have stolen all the headlines for his 89th minute equaliser to give Boro a point from their opening day match with Macclesfield Town but it is the 24-year-old Channel Islander who will go down in history as the scorer of Boro’s first ever goal in League football.
Vincenti only started two games during Stevenage’s title-winning campaign last season and he was sent off in one of those so although he started a few pre-season games this summer it still came as a surprise that he began this historic game ahead of Yemi Odubade and Chris Beardsley.
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Although he found it tough in parts, especially in the air, Vincenti etched his name in Boro folklore on seven minutes when he nodded in at the far post after Town ‘keeper Jose Veiga failed to claw Griffin’s deep cross over the bar.
The important thing for Boro in this match was not to lose as a defeat would have seen the momentum from last season’s record-breaking season grind to a halt.
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Instead a draw is something to build on and a late equaliser is something to excite the players and fans, many of whom stayed behind long after the final whistle to continue singing and dancing in the stands.
Vincenti gave his side the lead on seven minutes but just two minutes later Nat Brown headed home a Mat Hamshaw free kick to level things up.
Boro are notoriously good at set pieces at both ends of the pitch so to concede so soon after going ahead may point to a lack of concentration but whatever the reason it was sloppy.
The goal gave the Silkmen a break and although Chris Day was not peppered with efforts the visitors had the best of the rest of the half with Emile Sinclair a particular thorn in Boro’s right hand side with his pace getting the best of Ronnie Henry on more than one occasion.
Boro looked a little shaky at the back which is quite surprising considering their record last season but nerves of the big occasion had got to them.
Westley’s men, however, did have the chance to go ahead again before the 20-minute mark but Mark Roberts headed wide a Henry corner.
Tyrone Barnett also headed wide from a corner and set pieces, it seemed, were the situations most likely to produce a goal.
As the half went on Macclesfield’s Sinclair and Richard Butcher were becoming more influential and it was these two who almost put the visitors ahead.
Sinclair ran on to a ball down the left, skipped past a torpedo-like slide from Foster on the touchline before he ran into the box to square back to Butcher whose shot was blocked by Roberts.
Boro had been too direct in the first half and Vincenti and Griffin had found it difficult to hold the ball up and bring Peter Winn, on his debut, and Lawrie Wilson into the game on the wings.
Michael Bostwick was his usual hard-working self but Joel Byrom had little influence on the game and Bostwick often found himself up against two players at one time.
The Boro midfielder almost scored a trademark screamer just after the break when he whacked a shot just over the bar from 25 yards but it was a simpler, slower strike which gave Macclesfield the lead on 52 minutes.
Sinclair curved a run behind Laird down the right and he hit a low pass across goal which Boro failed to clear and Barnett tapped home at the far post.
Sensing the need to change things Westley brought on Beardsley and Odubade for Vincenti and Winn and the duo got to business stretching Macclesfield who looked content to sit back and defend their lead.
The visitors, however, should have known better as last season they conceded nine goals in the last five minutes of matches and this is something that Westley and his team would have been more than aware of.
Boro took up the invite and Griffin had a shot blocked on 75 minutes before he hit a pass across goal which went close two minutes later.
That move was started off by Rob Sinclair and the debutant winger changed the game after coming on for Wilson on 72 minutes.
He looked for the ball but more importantly when he got it he headed towards goal and he caused the visiting defence all kinds of problems.
It was Sinclair who set up Griffin for the winner when he picked the ball up 30 yards out, turned and ran towards the box. The Macclesfield defenders back off and Sinclair tapped it through for Griffin who jinked past a defender, turned and hit the ball in the bottom corner.
It was a beautiful moment for the big striker whose last competitive outing ended with him being stretchered off at Wembley with a fractured cheekbone in the FA Trophy final and the home fans and players burst into simultaneous screams of joy.
Griffin then set up Odubade who shot over on 92 minutes from the edge of the box and although Boro felt they could have had all three points one is a good start for the new boys on the block.
Boro (4-4-2): Day 6, Henry 6, Laird 7, Roberts 7, Foster 6, Wilson 6 (R Sinclair 8, 71), Bostwick 7, Byrom 6, Winn 6 (Odubade 6, 60), Vincenti 6 (C Beardsley 7, 60) Griffin 7. Subs: Bayes, Long, Murphy, Boylan.
Macclesfield Town: Veiga 6, Reid 6, Tremarco 7, Brown 6, Brisley 6, Hamshaw 6, Bolland 6, Butcher 7, E Sinclair 8 (Daniel, 80), Barnett 6, Wedgbury 7 (Chalmers, 80). Subs: Cudworth, Bencherif, J Beardsley, Mukendi, Thomas.
Referee: D Phillips.