Match report: Peterborough United 0 Stevenage 1
- Credit: Archant
Akins’ first-half strike helps 10-man Boro win at The Posh
Peterborough United 0
Sky Bet League 1
Stevenage’s topsy-turvy season continued with victory at the home of promotion hopefuls Peterborough United on Saturday.
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Following a run of two wins then two losses in their previous four league matches, here Boro took the lead through Lucas Akins’ sweet strike after just 20 minutes and thereafter dominated the midfield battle to take the points.
The home side struggled to contend with Boro’s energy in the middle of the park, while the man who would seem an obvious choice for that sort of contest, Ex-Stevenage midfielder Michael Bostwick, was again utilised as part of a three-man back line when his services were in need further up the pitch.
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Boro also opted for three at the back, with Jon Ashton returning from injury to partner Peter Hartley and Luke Jones while Chris Day started in goal after he had been withdrawn through injury at half-time against Rotherham United the previous week.
For Peterborough Lee Tomlin returned following a four-game suspension, but when the front man wasn’t spending his time in the ear of match referee Michael Jones he was dropping deep in an attempt to help shore up the midfield leaving Kyle Vassell a bystander against the Boro back line.
Boro’s first chance saw Francois Zoko, up front alongside Akins, turn and fire into the side netting, before on 20 minutes Akins received a pass from Michael Doughty and using the inside of his left foot softly placed a curled effort around Bobby Olejnik and inside the far post for 1-0.
Peterborough made a change just before the half hour mark with Kgosi Nthle coming on for the injured Craig Alcock, and moments later Hogan Ephraim really should have put his side level but Day saved low from the on-loan midfielder with the ball springing up and over the crossbar.
Mark Little then had a half-chance for the home side before just before the break Zoko won the ball from Gabriel Zakuani and fed in Filipe Morais whose whipped shot was palmed wide by Olejnik.
The home side started the second half the stronger of the two teams and Tommy Rowe went close with a drive from distance that hit Day’s bar leading to a chorus of ‘oooohs’ from the Peterborough supporters behind the goal.
There were more noises coming from the home supporters moments later, but aimed at the referee to do something about Jimmy Smith’s block on Nathaniel Mendez-Laing.
The Boro midfielder, sensing a break down the left after Ephrami had put the ball beyond him, stood in front of the Peterborough player and it brought his second booking of the afternoon with the red swiftly following. The player, whose wife went into labour on Saturday, could have no complaints.
Boro made a change with David Gray coming on for Morais, with the substitute filling in at right-back, and there then followed a series of yellow cards for Boro for what were, in truth, minor incidents with the names of Ashton and Zoko both entering the referee’s book.
Peterborough made two changes with Mark Little and Vassell making way for Shaun Jeffers and Tyrone Barnett, and the latter had a great chance to put Peterborough level only to volley Mendez-Laing’s cross over from close range.
Posh saw plenty of the ball in the final stages, but Boro defended resolutely to keep their hosts at bay with Hartley and Jones particularly impressing with late blocks to keep Day from having to get his gloves dirty as the clock ticked down.
Peterborough: Olejnik 6, Alcock 5 (Nthle 29, 4), Zakuani 7, Bostwick 5, Payne 7, Tomlin 6, Vassell 3 (Jeffers 71), Rowe 6, Mendez-Laing 7, Ephraim 6, Little 5 (Barnett 70, 6). Subs: Day, Swanson, McCann, Anderson.
Stevenage: Day 6, Smith 5, Hartley 7, Ashton 7, Jones 8, Morais 6 (Gray 67, 6), Freeman 8, Doughty 7 (Wedgury 80), Heslop 6, Akins 6, Zoko 5. Subs: Arnold, Burrow, Tansey, Andrade, Deacon.