REPORT: Stevenage 1 Doncaster Rovers 2

Stevenage FC

Stevenage FC - Credit: Archant

Boro’s winless run at home continues as they lose despite taking the lead against Doncaster

Stevenage 1 Doncaster Rovers 2

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Stevenage’s search for their first home win since October 23 continues after they let slip a lead at home to joint leaders Doncaster Rovers.

It is now seven home games and counting without victory for Gary Smith’s men, and although his side may feel that referee Chris Sarginson had a big part to play in the outcome of this result the truth is that Boro must look elsewhere.

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This is the third home match in succession that Stevenage have taken the lead only to lose the match – and the second in a row that they have been ahead with just 11 minutes to go only to throw all three points away.

There is the possibility that, with Stevenage leading 1-0, Mr Sarginson was to blame for making the wrong call when he allowed play to continue after Sam Hoskins had gone down under a challenge from Jamie McCombie with the Boro man closing in on goal.

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Yet only television replays will clarify what really happened; on the pitch the truth is that less than a minute later Iain Hume fired Doncaster level and four minutes into time added on Rob Jones popped up with the winner at a corner.

The game started at a decent pace and on five minutes Boro had a half-chance when Greg Tansey’s corner was headed across goal by Marcus Haber but David Gray, stretching, could not get enough on the ball to turn it goalwards.

Doncaster broke down the other end and Anthony Grant, that enigma of a midfielder who can be immense in the tackle but as light as a feather when challenged himself, got his body in front of David Cotterill’s effort to keep his side on level terms.

Hume was a menace all afternoon and on 20 minutes the striker, on loan from Preston, brushed Charles aside before side-stepping Miguel Comminges only to see Steve Arnold save his effort on goal.

Chances were scarce in the first half but just 10 minutes into the second period Arnold was made to work again by Hume, this time saving well from a low strike.

The opening goal came just after the hour and it was special. How nobody was marking James Dunne, lurking outside the box at a corner, is a question the Doncaster management team will be asking on the coach home this evening, but when the ball was cleared his way he let it bounce before hitting a stunning shot straight into the top corner from 25 yards.

McCombe then headed wide for the visitors before the same player was involved in the tangle with the lively Hoskins.

The Boro youngster, on loan from Southampton, caused some real problems for Doncaster when he came off the bench, and when he fell to the floor under pressure from McCombe Stevenage were furious.

To make matters worse, less than a minute later Rovers were level when Hume fired home after David Syers’ effort had been blocked by Arnold. Mark Newson, the Boro assistant manager, was then sent to the stands by the referee for his reaction.

The winner came four minutes into stoppage time during a period of play that had seen Boro forced back into their own third of the pitch, and from a corner on the left the ball came in and Jones was the man who headed it home.

There were, of course, wild celebrations, so much so that a plastic bottle from the visitor’s dugout caught one Boro supporter on the head.

On the pitch there was no time for Boro to claw their way back into the match, however, and the hosts were left to rue another missed opportunity.

Next up is a behind closed doors friendly against Crystal Palace on Tuesday before a trip to Bury next weekend.

Stevenage: Arnold 8; Gray 6, Comminges 6 (N’Gala 85), Charles 5, Roberts 6; Akins 6, Grant 7, Dunne 6, Tansey 6 (Morais 82); Haber 6, Beleck 6 (Hoskins 67, 7). Subs: Day, Hills, Ball, Freeman.

Doncaster: Woods 6; Quinn 6, Spur 7, McCombe 6, Jones 7; Cotterill 5, Bennett 6, Keegan 5 (Harper 55, 6), Syers 7; Hume 8, Brown 7. Subs: Martis, Blake, Maxted, Sinclair, Griffin, Coppinger.

Att: 3,280 (798)

Ref: Sarginson

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