MATCH REPORT: Stevenage 4 Stourbridge 0
- Credit: Archant
Boro book their place in the FA Cup third round with goals from Zoko, Akins, Freeman and Morais
For a second successive week there were four goals scored at Stevenage, but unlike last week’s 3-1 reversal at home to Shrewsbury Town here Boro weathered a tough first half to come out of the match as eventual worthy winners.
Yet they did not have it all of their own way against the Glassboys – and by the time Francois Zoko put Stevenage ahead just before the break there were some in the press box already looking online for the quickest route from Stevenage to Stourbridge ahead of a possible replay in 10 days’ time.
A better second-half display, including three further goals, saw Boro through, and they now await to find out their third round opponents in tomorrow’s (Sunday) draw.
The opening exchanges of the match saw chances for both sides to go ahead but both Lucas Akins, for Boro, and Luke Benbow, for Stourbridge, were guilty of missing the target.
Firstly Akins, unmarked, headed wide from a superb Filipe Morais cross from the right, and then Benbow found himself free only to send his low shot across goal and wide of the far post.
The visitors then put the ball in the net from a corner as they put Stevenage under pressure only for the referee to blow for a foul in the build up.
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Boro made a change after 12 minutes with Michael Doughty, already cautioned, making way for Dean Parratt and not long afterwards Drew Canavan, the man Doughty fouled for his booking, pinged a low shot just wide of Chris Day’s goal.
Just as Akins had done in the opening minute, Zoko then missed a comfortable chance for a goal from another Morais cross before Ryan Rowe then forced Day into a fine save, diving to his right.
Boro missed another chance when Akins slid in to a Freeman cross only to put the ball over from a couple of yards, but just when Boro’s fans were starting to think that their side were incapable of finding the net Zoko popped up with a header from another Freeman ball into the area to put his side ahead.
The goal was a blow for the visitors, and Stevenage added to Stourbridge’s woes early in the second half in bizarre circumstances.
A ball into the box was headed into the air and with Stourbridge keeper Dean Coleman confident the ball would land the other side of his goal he was surprised to see it bounce on to the bar and back on to the pitch where Akins was waiting to prod home.
By this time Boro were looking the stronger of the two sides and they added a third when Simon Heslop’s shot was blocked and Freeman stepped up to convert from close range before Morais then stung the palms of Coleman.
Stourbridge’s forays into the final third were few and far between in the second half, and when Ben Billingham brought the ball forward with 10 minutes to go the midfielder fired low at goal but Day got his body behind it to make the save.
Boro added a fourth in the dying minutes when a foul on Morais in the box as the winger awaited a pass from Freeman saw the same player step up and send the goalkeeper the wrong way for 4-0.
It was one more goal than they scored the last time Boro played the same opposition in the same round in front of 900 more supporters in 2011 – a cup run that ended in a pulsating night of football at White Hart Lane in the following March.
Stevenage: Day, Smith, Hartley, Ashton, Jones, Morais, Freeman, Heslop (Andrade 80), Doughty (Parrett 13), Zoko, Akins (Wedgbury 73). Subs: Arnold, Chorley, Burrow, Deacon.
Stourbridge: Coleman, Canavan (Washbourne 56), Richards, Oliver (Knight 73), Geddes, Bennett, Rowe, Broadhurst, Francis (Drake 79), Billingham, Benbow. Subs: Slater, Fitzpatrick, Agbor, Brown.
Ref: T Robinson