Grimsby Town 0 Stevenage 2: Kurtis Guthrie’s double seals victory for Dino Maamria’s determined Boro
- Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO
Stevenage travelled to Grimsby to take on the Mariners in League Two. Read on for Layth Yousif’s match report from Blundell Park.
Stevenage beat Grimsby Town 2-0 at Blundell Park in their League Two clash on Saturday.
A Kurtis Guthrie brace sealed the points for Dino Maamria’s Boro after another excellent performance from QPR loanee Ilias Chair in front of 3,689 fans including 112 from North Herts.
The result gave Maamria’s Boro a boost after they travelled to Cleethorpes looking to bounce back after their disappointing 3-0 defeat to Notts County last week - even if a thigh injury to Chair dampened spirits slightly.
The charismatic Tunisian admitted this week that his team’s faint play-off hopes were all but over after collecting one point from the last six which included a 2-2 draw at Macclesfield Town the previous week.
With the Lamex outfit sitting in 13th place, four spots and five points higher than the Mariners prior to kick-off, Maamria was looking for his side to show professional pride and pick up as many points as they can from their remaining six games.
Keeper Paul Farman certainly showed pride in his performance early on after showing superb reflexes, anticipation and strong wrists to keep out a stinging close range shot from Grimsby’s Luke Hendrie.
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A scrappy game full of endeavour but little end product was punctuated by Guthrie’s excellent finish on 22 minutes past Mariners keeper James McKeown.
The 25-year-old Guthrie, signed from Colchester during the summer ran onto an excellent through ball from the lively Chair after Joel Byrom fed him on a break, to lift it over the onrushing keeper and into the net to silence the home fans – who, moments earlier had been serenading a party of 20 stag do revellers dressed as Oompah Loompa’s.
With four minutes remaining of the first half Hendrie played a clever ball into the box for Charles Vernam to flick the ball towards goal with his left foot. It was a clever piece of skill as the ball narrowly flew past the post.
Maamria opted to replace Boro legend and loyal servant Byrom at half-time with League Two apprentice of the year Arthur Iontton in a bid to offer fresh legs in the heat of battle.
The move paid dividends when Chair sent a delightful ball into the box for Guthrie to convert five minutes after the break to double the lead and make it 2-0.
However moments later the talented Chair had to be carried off in clear discomfort with what appeared to be an injury to his left thigh.
Despite being booed off by home fans who thought the QPR loanee was faking injury – he clearly wasn’t – all fair-minded football fans will hope the injury to the creative attacker is not too serious as the lad has been a revelation in League Two since signing from the Loftus Road outfit on loan in January.
The game fell into a scrappy phase before Guthrie aimed a header over the bar after a cross from Joe Martin, while at the other end substitute Martyn Woolford fed Vernam whose curling shot flew inches past the apex of Farman’s right hand post and bar.
As referee Trevor Kettle blew for the final whistle, Maamria’s men celebrated a hard-fought victory over the Mariners, to complete a league double over Grimsby after Steve Seddon’s winner at the Lamex earlier in the season.
Seddon is long gone of course but hope remains at Stevenage as ever.
With five games to go surely this plucky side can’t make a late challenge for the play-offs?
With Carlisle the next opponents at the Lamex a week from now the game is a must-win match.
Mid table mediocrity? Don’t bet on it with this talented Boro side.
With the guts and no little talent on display at evocative Blundell Park you simply can’t rule out Maamria’s Stevenage out of the play-off mix just yet.
Follow Layth on Twitter @laythy29