REPORT: Stevenage 1 Tranmere Rovers 1

Greg Tansey’s late, late goal sees Stevenage hold league leaders Tranmere to a draw

Stevenage 1 Tranmere Rovers 1

npower League 1

GREG Tansey made it three goals in four games as the midfielder’s stoppage time strike earned his side a point against the visiting league leaders.

Tansey got the ball out of his feet before curling a sublime effort over the stranded Owain Fon Williams to cancel out Jake Cassidy’s earlier header, while in the final minute of the game Bondz N’Gala headed clear a goal-bound effort as Boro went into a two-week break on the back of two fine draws.

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That Boro should be pleased to earn a point each at Bournemouth and here against Tranmere says much about their form before these two matches, but as Gary Smith said afterwards it was ‘important to draw a line’ under a patchy run going into an enforced fortnight off after their loss in Rotherham in the FA Cup earlier this month.

That two weeks will allow Boro to assess Filipe Morais’ ankle after the winger limped off 20 minutes into his return to the first team after his suspension midweek. It will also allow Smith to work with the players in an attempt to find a winning formula after just one victory in their last seven games.

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But there are promising signs. At the back, N’Gala had a good game alongside skipper Mark Roberts while up front Marcus Haber put in a shift, though without the reward.

It was Tansey, though, who will earn the plaudits. Like one of his predecessors in midfield, Michael Bostwick, he has an eye for goal from distance. But unlike Bostwick, Tansey is prolific.

Boro made the one change for this game with Morais coming in for Lee Hills, who was on the bench, while starting for Tranmere was new loan signing Michael O’Halloran and, as captain, James Wallace, whose loan spell at Stevenage in January lasted less than a week folowing Graham Westley’s departure.

Morais began the game highest up the pitch and caused the visitors a few problems but it was Rovers who had the first sight on goal when Cassidy came away from a challenge with Steve Arnold on the edge of the area with the ball only for N’Gala to block his shot.

Tansey gave Tranmere an early glimpse of his shooting ability but although he slipped when firing goalwards he still managed to force Williams into a fine save.

Arnold was then caught out when coming off his line a second time only for Roberts to come to his rescue, sweeping up Liam Palmer’s weak effort.

The second half was 15 minutes old when the visitors almost worked the opener, but although Andy Robinson set his sights on the inside of Arnold’s far post he could only curl his effort inches the other side. Moments later, the same player shot over from distance.

It felt as though a goal was coming and when it did the scorer was Cassidy, the man who scored twice against Boro last season in a 3-0 defeat at Tranmere.

Adam McGurk collected the ball out on the right and dragged Roberts out of position, before slipping the ball past the Boro captain and getting in his cross for Cassidy, unmarked, to head past Arnold.

Boro sent on Robin Shroot and soon enough he was in the thick of the action, but he will be disappointed not to have fired in the equaliser having put his effort past Fon Williams only to strike the post. Lucas Akins, playing against his former side, then shot over.

Boro kept digging and they struck gold two minutes into stoppage time, Tansey somehow managing to scoop the ball into the far corner past Fon Williams.

It was a wonderful finish, but it almost counted for nothing when McGurk shot goalwards a minute later only for N’Gala to get his head under the ball to flick it over the bar and to earn his side a point.

Stevenage: Arnold 5, Gray 6, Charles 6, N’Gala 7, Roberts 6, Grant 6, Dunne 5 (Shroot 81), Tansey 7, Morais 5 (Freeman 20, 5), Akins 5, Haber 7 (Agyemang 74). Subs: Day, Hills, Risser, Rogers.

Tranmere: Fon Williams 6, Holmes 6, Goodison 6, Palmer 6, Wallace 7, Robinson 6 (Black 86), McGurk 7, Bakayogo 6, Gibson 6, Cassidy 7, O’Halloran 6. Subs: Harrison, Stockton, Power, Kay, Daniels, Mooney.

Att: 3069 (436)

Ref: Adcock

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