Match report and photos: Stevenage 0 Yeovil Town 0
- Credit: Archant
In both of the previous meetings between these sides this season, a late goal swung the tie in favour of one team or the other.
At Huish Park in November, a Tom Pett header in the dying minutes handed Boro a point from their league encounter while just three weeks later Ben Tozer’s 88th minute goal knocked Stevenage out of the FA Cup.
That second match was Darren Way’s first in charge of the Glovers, and it came at a time when Town were bottom of the Football League.
This was the same side that just two years before had been competing in the Championship following a dramatic rise; the fall had been just as quick.
Yet Way has slowly got this side working hard and playing football, and they came to the Lamex Stadium relatively free from the worry that a third consecutive relegation may be on the cards.
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Against Boro they showed just why they had turned the tide. They pressed hard, were organised and, especially in the first period, stopped Stevenage from playing.
They may have been 19th in the league, but this was an in-form side that pitched up at Boro on Tuesday evening and Stevenage did well to keep them from adding to their recent victories although in a match that was not one for the purists.
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It helped that Boro had gone into the game on the back of a draw at promotion hopefuls Oxford United and a win at neighbours Luton Town, the latter coming on Saturday.
Had they hit this match without a victory boost at the weekend there could have been another late Town winner on the cards, but while this was a game to forget it was a result forged out of a desire from both sides not to give an inch.
Stevenage had some chances in the first period, and the best of the game went the way of QPR loanee Jake Mulraney. With only a defender on the line following a goalline scramble the winger fired over the bar.
There were other chances for Boro – Dean Parrett fired wide while Ben Kennedy’s inswinging corner almost caught out Artur Krsiak – while Yeovil thought that they should have had a penalty when Fraser Franks got a hand on Nathan Smith’s shirt and the defender fell to ground.
Despite the draw Stevenage’s fans can now see a faint of light at the end of what has been a tumultuous season, one summed up by the arrival of Chris Whelpdale for Mulraney at the break.
Here is a player who has missed more than three months through injury, was managed under one boss when he got injured and returns playing for another, and despite not featuring since Boxing Day is still – by some distance – Stevenage’s top scorer.
His return down the right with flicks and flick-ons is a welcome one.
Stevenage have suffered in other places this season and from the loss of other players, but no more than this man and it is no surprise that following his introduction Boro looked a better outfit.
Next up is a trip to Notts County, a team now managed by Mark Cooper.
The former Swindon boss was interviewed recently about the Stevenage job and he was in the stands at Boro to take in this game.
What he will have seen is a side which has just recorded two clean sheets for the first time during this campaign and, dare we say it, an improving team.
Stevenage: Jones, Henry, Franks, Wilkinson, Wells, Mulraney (Whelpdale 46), Kennedy, Tonge, Parrett (Conlon 81), Pritchard, Luer (Harrison 60). Subs: Day, O’Connor, Okimo, Gorman.
Yeovil: Krysiak, Tozer, Smith, Dolan, Sokolik, Laird (Dawson 46), Dickson, Compton (Cornick 62), Campbell, Roberts, Lita (Zoko 72). Subs: Weale, Goodship, Lacey, Shephard.