Liburd fires Stevenage to victory over Brighton & Hove Albion

Rowan Liburd. Picture: STEVENAGE FC

Rowan Liburd. Picture: STEVENAGE FC - Credit: Archant

Rowan Liburd’s first-half goal fired Stevenage to victory over Brighton.

The visitors had split their squad for two matches on the same day, but following on from their 2-1 defeat at Luton Town earlier in the afternoon they succumbed to another League Two side in Stevenage in the early evening at the Lamex.

It wasn’t the best of games - but then pre-season matches rarely are, and combined with baking hot conditions this was a tough run out for both sets of players.

However, Boro boss Darren Sarll will be pleased with both the result and the performance. His team were organised, disciplined and although they rode their luck at times they also asked plenty of questions of Brighton.

The first half was a low-tempo affair with the match lacking a spark in warm conditions.

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Boro were twice forced to clear off the line, firstly Ronnie Henry doing the honours and then Luke Wilkinson, before the home side took the lead on 30 minutes.

Liburd was the scorer as the striker ran on to a long ball over the top and, after a poor touch, capitalised on a slight hesitation by David Stockdale to beat the keeper to the ball, round him and score into an open goal.

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Four minutes after scoring the striker limped off injured with Dipo Akinyemi his replacement.

Brighton’s Sam Baldock then fired wide when one-on-one with Jamie Jones in the home goal, while at the other end Stockdale prevented his side from trailing further when he got down low to keep out Fraser Franks’ low effort from distance.

Boro should have doubled their lead within a minute of the restart. Jobi McAnuff was the provider with a superb ball in over the defence, but Matt Godden’s finish was straight at Stockdale.

Stevenage fans will be very pleased with the contribution of their new signing McAnuff, with the former Reading and Watford man involved in most of what was good for his team.

Akinyemi struck the outside of the post with a lovely curling effort from the edge of the box, while for Brighton Tomer Hemed headed over following good work from Baldock before Dean Wells made a superb block to deny Hemed an equaliser.

Brighton made five changes in one fell swoop with 10 minutes remaining, but Boro held on for what was a very satisfying victory.

Stevenage: Jones, Franks, Henry (Slater 75), Wilkinson, Wells (Johnson 79), Lee (Gorman 61), McAnuff (Pett 61), Conlon, Tonge (McKee 79), Godden (Gray 75), Liburd (Akinyemi 34). Subs: Day, Brady, Cregan.

Brighton & Hove Albion: Stockdale (Sanchez 60), Saltor, Kayal (Tighe 80), Baldock (Harper 73), Hemed (Ayunga 89) Murphy (Ward 80), Holla (Adekugbe 80), Rosenior, Lualua (Tilley 80), Hall (Roscoe 73), Hunt (Hutchinson 80). Subs: All used.

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