Jekyll and Hyde Boro move joint top after victory
Goals from Morais, Akins and Dunne seal vital three points for Gary Smith’s team
Yeovil Town 1
A superb second-half performance earned Stevenage an impressive away victory against Yeovil tonight to move up to joint top of League One.
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Despite taking an early lead through Filipe Morais, Patrick Madden equalised for the Glovers five minutes later before Gary Johnson’s side went on to dominate a one-sided first half.
However, things couldn’t have been much different in the second half, and the introduction of the impressive Marcus Haber for Patrick Agyemang at half time, coupled with goals from Lucas Akins and James Dunne, completely overwhelmed the hosts who couldn’t replicate their first half display as Boro eased to victory.
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The result couldn’t have come at a better time for Gary Smith’s side, who had suffered back-to-back defeats against Rotherham and Swindon Town previously.
The visitors couldn’t have wished for a better start following Saturday’s FA Cup exit at Rotherham and took the lead after just two minutes at Huish Park. Yeovil appeals for an offside fell on deaf ears following David Gray’s pass into the channel, but the ball seemed to be going out for a goal kick. However, Akins, playing up front alongside Agyemang, muscled the ball away from the defender, passed to his strike partner who found the onrushing Morais. The Portuguese hit a first-time effort from 12 yards that flew past the rooted Marek Stech at the near post.
But any hopes Boro may have harboured of an easy evening in Somerset we swiftly dispelled as the hosts hit back within five minutes. Left-winger Sam Foley was allowed time to pick out a cross to Patrick Madden who produced a stunning scissor kick volley into the far corner.
The Glovers proceeded to dominate almost the remainder of the first half with a high-tempo, incisive brand of football that Boro struggled to cope with. Yeovil’s full-backs were effectively playing as wingers, meaning Smith’s side rarely got out of their own half.
Boro looked strangely low on confidence and short if ideas on the occasions they did get on the ball, but this was largely down to Yeovil’s superior tenacity out of possession. Boro’s lacklustre display was legitimised by Smith reverting back to a more familiar 4-2-3-1 formation, with Akins moving back to the right wing.
This switch did reduce the amount of space Yeovil were revelling in, but still Boro found it difficult to impose themselves higher up the field.
Boro’s best chance of the half fell to Greg Tansey, who had been played through on goal, but despite a neat side-step to wrong-foot the defender, his shot was dragged horribly wide.
Marcus Haber replaced Agyemang at half-time, and Boro began the second half exactly the same way they started the first – by scoring an early goal. Haber broke well down the right wing before taking his time and playing a dangerous ball into the box. Yeovil failed to clear their lines and the onrushing Akins duly smashed the loose ball into the top corner.
Unlike the first period, though, Yeovil didn’t bite back. Instead, Boro gathered momentum and seized the opportunity to put their complacent hosts to the sword. Boro were finding their passes now, and chances were being created.
James Dunne missed a gilt-edged chance on 65 minutes when the impressive Haber broke clear down the left, before finding Dunne who blzed high and wide from the edge of the box. The former Exeter made amends 30 seconds later, though, when his deflected effort from the edge of the box rolled into the net past an already committed Stech.
Yeovil were as poor in the second half as they were excellent in the first, while Boro were the complete opposite. Boro sensed blood and Haber was denied what looked like being a certain goal when his volley inside a crowded area was heroically blocked away.
Boro weren’t troubled as the match ran down, as Yeovil simply ran out of ideas.
Yeovil Town (4-4-2): Stech; Edwards, Webster, Burn, McAllister (c); Marsh-Brown (Reid 70), Smith, Johnson, Foley; Hayter (Williams 70), Madden.
Subs not used: Ayling, Hinds, Stewart, Haynes-Brown.
Stevenage: (4-4-2): Arnold; Gray, Roberts (c), N’Gala, Charles; Grant (Freeman 85), Dunne Morais (Risser 90), Tansey; Agyemang (Haber 45), Akins.
Subs not used: Day, Hills, Rogers, Lopez.
Attendance: 2,900 (79 away)