MATCH REPORT: Stevenage 0 Gillingham 1
- Credit: Archant
GALLERY: Boro fall at the first hurdle in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy
Stevenage were knocked out of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy thanks to Luke Norris’ first-half penalty.
Boro boss Graham Westley had said ahead of this game that cup competitions were ‘essential’ for his club, and that Stevenage wanted to get to Wembley this year.
But when it came to trying to overcome Peter Taylor’s League 1 outfit, Boro failed to get out of their own back yard.
The hosts were the better of the two sides in the first half, but they trailed at the break after Norris, a Hitchin Town youth team product, had capitalised from the spot after Chris Day, recalled to the side, had fouled Cody McDonald in the box.
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The Stevenage goalkeeper could have been given a red card from referee Darren Deadman, but after the yellow was produced Norris stepped up to send the goalkeeper the wrong way.
Boro began to control the game with playmaker Charlie Lee once again influential, and when the midfielder got forward five minutes later he turned just outside the box and poked a shot just wide.
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Stevenage then appealed for a penalty of their own following a challenge on Roarie Deacon, but the referee waved play on.
The home side were lucky to survive another chance straight after the break. Norris played in Brennan Dickenson and firing at goal the winger saw his shot palmed out by Day into the path of Norris, but his flying header was directed over an open goal.
Connor Calcutt thought he had levelled the scores on 56 minutes, only for his chance to be chalked off for offside, and then the visitors were reduced to 10 men with 25 minutes of the match remaining after Gavin Hoyte went in late on Deacon.
The Boro winger then had a good chance to make it 1-1, but on the break, and being fed the ball just to the left of centre, Deacon took one touch too many to take him too wide and Morris got a block on his low drive.
Keeping the pressure on, Ronnie Henry then put in Lancaster whose shot was saved at close range by Morris before Calcutt’s follow up was deflected over the bar as Boro had to settle for a third home defeat of the season.
Stevenage: Day, Okimo, Henry (Ashton 88), Wells, Charles; Whelpdale, Lee, Walton, Deacon (Zola 81); Calcutt (Marriott 81), Lancaster. Subs: Beasant, Casey.
Gillingham: Morris, Martin (McKain 46), Hoyte, Davies, Legge; Pritchard, Dickenson, Hessenthaler, Dack; McDonald (German 46), Norris. Subs: Hadler, Fish, Millbank.
Ref: D Deadman