MATCH REPORT: Wolves 2 Stevenage 0
- Credit: Kevin Coleman
Sky Bet League 1: Boro have their chances but it is Wolves who take the points
It is the cruel nature of football that a side can hold their own against a club bigger in both stature and budget and yet come away from the match without a point to show for their efforts.
Graham Westley’s men were not short of chances in this game – especially in the second period – but somehow their hosts were able to ride their luck when 1-0 up before adding a second 10 minutes from time.
When a team such as Wolves can leave a player like Jake Cassidy, who tore up this league at the start of the last season on loan at Tranmere Rovers, on the bench for an entire game, you know that this is a squad that should be respected.
Yet Stevenage played some good football against their hosts at times and they probably had more of the chances – and yet, as always, it comes down to sticking the ball in the back of the net.
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Boro went into the match looking for a fifth win in six in all competitions, but they conceded after just seven minutes when Jimmy Smith gave up possession and Bakary Sako set up Kevin Doyle to put the hosts ahead.
The home side then had a chance to double their lead after Jon Ashton headed into the path of Doyle, but the former Reading striker was unable to make the most of his opportunity.
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For Stevenage, Francois Zoko was denied by a last-ditch tackle before a low Luke Freeman effort was dealt with by Carl Ikeme.
Wolves then blew a superb chance of their own when Doyle set up Bjorn Sigurdarson whose turn and shot went wide of goal.
Stevenage had soaked up the pressure before going close twice themselves. Firstly Freeman’s effort was deflected over from the edge of the box and then Greg Tansey’s 30-yard drive was helped over by the keeper.
The chances kept coming for both sides with Zoko, set up by Filipe Morais, shooting off target before Doyle was denied by Smith heading off the line.
Boro came out of the traps quickly in the second half with centre-back Luke Jones going close.
Wolves, though, then brought on Leigh Griffiths and straight away the substitute almost put the game to bed.
Firstly he flicked a header wide when he should have done better, and he followed this by forcing Day into a save before Peter Hartley cleared.
There was then a spurt of chances for the visitors who were looking increasingly confident. Firstly Zoko’s shot was parried by Ikeme, and then the same two players were involved again with the keeper saving from close range.
Morais then had a super chance, but he headed wide from a Freeman cross.
Boro were looking the more likely of the two teams to score, but they were dealt a heavy blow with 10 minutes to go when James Henry beat the offside trap and beat Day for 2-0.
There were further chances, but by this time Stevenage needed something special to get back into the game and it just wasn’t to be.
For Stevenage it was a good second half display that should, if football was a fair game, have yielded a point for the journey home.
Yet the sport is a cruel mistress, and now Boro must refocus on next weekend’s FA Cup clash at home to Portsmouth.
Wolves: Ikeme, Ricketts, Golbourne, Davis, Batth, Stearman, Henry, Evans, Doyle, Sigurdarson (Griffiths 62), Sako (O’Hara 83). Subs: Edwards, Forde, Cassidy, Ebanks-Landell, McCarey.
Stevenage: Day, Smith, Hartley, Jones, Ashton, Heslop, Morais (Tounkara 81), Doughty (Andrade 89), Tansey (Parrett 91), Freeman, Zoko. Subs: Arnold, Wedgbury, Burrow, Deacon.
Ref: K Wright