Second away point for Stevenage after dour stalemate at Mansfield Town
- Credit: Danny Loo/TGS Photo
The movement to let fans in to football ground has gathered steam again over the last week and while that is the only outcome anyone wants, they certainly didn’t miss a lot as Stevenage drew 0-0 at Mansfield Town.
It was a game that had little bursts of activity but in the end precious little entertainment, even if the woodwork was hit three times during the course of the contest.
Stevenage did show more of the fight that has come to be associated with them this season but the quality was lacking at times and their best efforts didn’t test the home defence enough.
The sides had come in to the game with just one win between them from their combined eight games and it showed at times, with neither of them looking fully committed in attack for fear of giving something away at the back.
Boro were the better of the teams in the first half with Jack Aitchison having two shots early on straight at Marek Stech.
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The nearest both teams to scoring in the first half remarkably came within 60 seconds of each other.
Mansfield went the closest with a shot across goal from the right side of the box by Harry Charsley pinging off he post and bouncing out.
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The ball was cleared but ended up being played all the way back to Stech.
He sliced the clearance and Inih Effiong pounced, getting to the ball first and shooting, only for the keeper to just get back in time and deflect it wide.
Aitchison had a third shot that went wide and Jack Smith slipped as he attempted to fire home.
Effiong had their best effort.
He is well known for his strength but here he combined it with a bit of pace as he burst forward into the box and smashed an effort that Stech did well to get a hand up and palm into the side netting.
For the hosts Jamie Reid and Charsley both wriggled into space for shots but both were well off target.
It had been noticeable that Mansfield had looked unable to keep the ball for any period of time.
Boro were doing well, certainly with closing down and tackling, but they too hadn’t really used their possession as effectively as they could have done.
Stevenage did put a couple of hopeful balls into the box in the early going of the second half but it was Mansfield who looked a lot sharper and keener to get on the front foot.
A free-kick played into the box almost did just that as it landed at the feet of Corey O’Keeffe, six yards out and in behind the last defender.
It needed Jamie Cumming to make a smart stop but the offside flag went up late making it all moot.
Cumming did make a save that did matter not long after, batting down a close-range shot from Nicky Maynard, and then got two strong hands to a firm drive by James Perch.
At the other end Elliot List had a swing and a miss when a ball dropped to him from a corner while a whipped cross from Arthur Read was ahead of the strikers.
A header from Ross Marshall also went wide while centre-back got his nodded attempt on target but straight at Stech.
With the game heading towards a seemingly dour and expected end, Stevenage almost grabbed a winner out of nothing.
Luther James-Wildin had put in two decent crosses and it was from the second of them that List stuck out a leg and diverted if onto the top of the crossbar.
It was a nonchalant flick, little more than a dangling foot but it was almost the killer touch.
There was to be one final moment of drama, and a let-off for the Hertfordshire side as George Maris let fly from just inside the box but his shot hit the underside of the bar and bounced down and out.
In the end though the draw was the right result and fans will be hoping the entertainment arrives in time for their return.
Stevenage: Cumming, James-Wildin, Cuthbert, Prosser, Effiong, Hutton, List (Newton 81), Read, J.Smith (Vincelot 84), Marshall, Aitchison.
Subs (not used): Johnson, Coker, Marsh, Vancooten, Akinwande.
Booked: Newton 88
Mansfield Town: Steech, O’Keefe, Menayese, Sweeney, Rawson, Charsley, Maris, Perch, Reid, McLaughlin (Benning 49), Maynard (Cook 74).
Subs (not used): Stone, Bowery, Gordon, O’Driscoll, A.Smith
Booked: Maynard 65
HT: Mansfield Town 0 Stevenage 0
Referee: Sebastian Stockbridge (Gateshead)