Long's brace puts Boro into Trophy semi-finals
Stevenage Borough 2 Workington 1 FA Trophy Fifth Round STACY Long s injury time winner booked Boro a place in the semi-finals of the FA Trophy for the third time in four years. Never mind Wembley being the home of English football, it should be renamed th
Stevenage Borough 2 Workington 1
FA Trophy Fifth Round
STACY Long's injury time winner booked Boro a place in the semi-finals of the FA Trophy for the third time in four years.
Never mind Wembley being the home of English football, it should be renamed the home of Stevenage Borough should Graham Westley's men pick up three more wins in the competition and lift the trophy for a third time in four years.
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At half-time on Saturday, however, Wembley seemed a distant dream as Boro were a goal down on a boggy, cut up pitch.
The second half was a different story altogether though as after the visitors missed an opportunity to double their lead 45 seconds in the remaining 44 minutes belonged to the hosts.
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Once Boro grabbed their equaliser they looked like certainties to go through and with Workington players dropping like flies in order to disrupt Boro's play the fourth official added seven extra minutes during which Long fired home the winner.
Boro began the game with just the one change from their defeat at Rushden a week earlier.
Striker Yemi Odubade came into the starting line-up in place of Tim Sills but there was also a change in formation as Westley opted for 4-4-2 instead of 4-3-3 with Mitchell Cole on the left of midfield and Long on the right while Chris Beardsley partnered Odubade up front.
Boro's bench of Sills, Lee Boylan and Peter Vincenti gave an indication that Boro might find things difficult against a side that had already knocked AFC Wimbledon and Rushden & Diamonds out of this year's competition.
And so it proved as the Workington back line, and the centre-back pairing of Kyle May and Lee Andrews in particular, limited the hosts to a couple of speculative efforts.
Boro had a host of corners early on but failed to capitalise from them, a Mark Roberts header aside.
After being overawed in the opening exchanges, Workington slowly ventured into the Boro half and had an effort cleared near the goal line on 18 minutes after the ball had pinballed its way around the box.
Boro had the majority of possession, however, and Beardsley was just inches away from getting on the end of a Long cross on 24 minutes when he slid in at the far stick.
Just two minutes later Workington were ahead when Beardsley gave the ball away in midfield and the visitors broke with Shaun Vipond squaring the ball for Phil McLuckie to side foot home inside the box.
One almost became two moments later but this time Jonny Wright, who had passed a late fitness test to be ready for this match, failed to get on the end of a cross and Chris Day smothered the ball.
Boro worked their way back into the match but David Bridges spurned a superb chance to level things at the end of the half when he hit the side netting from six yards with just Tony Caig in the Workington goal to beat.
His effort was such a bad miss that the midfielder ran back to his position with his shirt over his head.
When Long saw his shot go over the bar moments later Boro fans could have been forgiven for thinking this was not going to be there day, and just 45 seconds into the second half they were almost proved right when Anthony Wright caught Boro's defence napping but booted his shot over from 16 yards.
Minutes later Boro had their best chance of the game when Odubade broke through and had a shot a goal. Amazingly, his effort was saved by Caig, bounced on to a defender's chest and then on to the bar before it was cleared.
A goal looked to be on the cards and so it proved when Long curled a shot past Caig on 55 minutes after some good work by Jon Ashton and Beardsley.
Caig had to go off midway through the second half after a collision with Beardsley and he was replaced by young Aaron Taylor who was making his first appearance of the season.
Taylor looked competent enough during the next 20 minutes but he was culpable for Boro's winner.
That goal came five minutes into injury time as the young 'keeper flapped at an Ashton cross and Long was there to score his fifth goal of the season.
Stevenage Borough (4-4-2): Day 6, Laird 7, Roberts 7, Bostwick 8, Ashton 7, Long 8, Byrom 7, Bridges 6 (Sills, 83), Odubade 6, Beardsley 6 (Vincenti 7, 62), Cole 7 (Cole, 78). Subs: Bayes, Albrighton.
Workington (4-4-2): Caig 7 (Taylor 6, 63), Langford 5, Rowntree 6, May 7, Andrews 8, Vipond 7, McLuckie 7, Hopper 6, A Wright 6 (Hindmarsh, 86), Arnison 6 (Bowman 6, 59), J Wright 7. Subs: Hewson, Hardman.
Referee: D Coote (Newark)