Holroyd settles action packed encounter
On-loan striker nets second half winner
npower League 2
Stevenage 2 Burton Albion 1
CHRIS Holroyd has laid claim to Boro’s winner as they took all three points from this feisty encounter.
The on-loan striker converted Lawrie Wilson’s cross on 58 minutes after Aaron Webster had earlier cancelled out Scott Laird’s penalty, but Holroyd’s effort appeared to take a touch off Michael Bostwick on its way to goal and both players are claiming it.
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Holroyd continues to impress for Boro and after the game Graham Westley said he hoped the striker would be interested in a move to the Lamex Stadium if Brighton were to sell him on his return to his parent club in December.
In many ways this game was all about referee Trevor Kettle – more of which later – but it was also a tale of two strikers.
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On the one hand there was Holroyd, full of confidence and full of goals, and on the other Yemi Odubade, who is currently lacking both Holroyd’s qualities.
Early in the second half Westley sent on Odubade as his side looked for a second goal, but just 20 minutes later the substitute was substituted.
Luke Foster had just been sent off and Boro needed to make a change but it was Odubade – who had done little except miss a golden opportunity – rather than Holroyd who made way.
Referee Kettle, whose waving of eight yellow cards and one red in this match made it 22 yellows and two reds in his last three games, had already lost control of the match by this point and both sides had plenty to complain about.
The Berkshire official had overseen two Boro penalties – the second of which was dubious – and he had failed to send off Adam Bolder for a late challenge on Jon Ashton which led to a 22-man melee.
There was also a feeling that he was too harsh in dismissing Foster who had tangled with Shaun Harrad.
Kettle’s first big decision came on eight minutes when Holroyd was pushed in the back while on the six-yard line and the man in black pointed to the spot.
Holroyd dusted himself down and hit a shot towards the left corner only to see Legzdins turn it round the post.
Boro had already signalled their intentions by this point with Long shooting low at the Burton goal on just 14 seconds and Ryan Austin being forced into a tidy sliding tackle to deny Holroyd on the edge of the box.
Roberts was booked midway through the half for a foul on Lewis Young – brother of Aston Villa’s Ashley – and although he protested his innocence and did go in hard but fair on the winger twice more, his frustrations were getting the better of him and he was withdrawn not long after the start of the second half.
On the half hour mark all 22 players produced their Louis Vuittons for a handbag swinging session, but at the heart of it was a late tackle by Bolder on Ashton which, unsurprisingly owing to the nature of it, Ashton reacted to before everybody joined in.
The scuffle ended with Holroyd tangling with Nathan Stanton on the floor and Holroyd, Bolder and Stanton all saw yellow.
Four minutes later Boro went ahead. Wilson picked up the ball on the right and tried to nick it through the tightest of gaps between two defenders. The wide man fell to the floor, the assistant signalled a penalty and Laird stepped up to put his side ahead.
Ashton hit the bar with two minutes remaining in the half but just two minutes after the break Burton were level.
Not for the first time this season it was a goal created on the right of midfield. Young picked the ball up near the touchline and sent in a peach of a cross for Webster to control and then tap in with his left foot to level things.
Odubade and Foster came on for Winn and Roberts and just before the hour mark Stevenage went ahead.
Wilson had been a menace on the right all afternoon and not for the first time he had the beating of Kevin Grocott. The midfielder made his way to the byline and pulled the ball back for Holroyd to strike.
Five minutes later Odubade wasted a golden opportunity to make it three.
Mousinho passed to Holroyd in the centre circle and the striker scooped the ball over the Burton back line who were far too high up the pitch when faced with quick front men.
Odubade shrugged off his marker and ran all of 40 yards before sending his effort wide of goal.
There was still time for Foster to be sent off when, as the last man, his legs tangled through no malice of his with those of Shaun Harrad, and from the resulting free kick Chris Day pulled of a stunning save to deny Webster.
Boro finished the match with Holroyd on the wing and defender Darius Charles up front on his own, and it summed up quite an extraordinary match.
Westley’s men will be looking for a more straight-forward three points when they travel to Morecambe next weekend.
Boro (4-5-1): Day 7, Henry 6, Laird 7, Ashton 6, Roberts 5 (Foster, 51mins), Wilson 8, Winn 6 (Odubade, 51mins (Charles, 75mins)), Long 7, Mousinho 6, Bostwick 7, Holroyd 7. Subs not used: Bayes, Bridges, Griffin, Vincenti.
Burton (4-4-2): Legzdins 6, Austin 7, Boertien (Grocott 3, 7mins), Stanton 6, Austin 6, Young 7 (Pearson, 72), Bolder 5, Maghoma 5, Webster 7, Walker 6 (Collins 6, 45mins), Harrad 7. Subs not used: Poole, Phillips, Dyer, Gilroy.
Referee: T Kettle.