REPORT: Stevenage 2 Bury 2
Haber and Tansey on target for Boro but late equaliser sees Bury take a point
Stevenage 2 Bury 2
npower League 1
Stevenage’s unbeaten run may have continued with this draw, but single points must be turned into three if Boro want to maintain their promotion charge.
It is four draws in five home matches for Gary Smith’s men and five draws in nine games altogether this season, while in the space of a week Boro have twice thrown away a lead in the dying moments of a match.
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What is more, Bury, under new manager Kevin Blackwell, could and should have scored a winner moments after pulling level only for Tom Hopper, who had scored their first goal, to head wide with minutes to go.
On both occasions – Bury’s equaliser, and Hopper’s missed opportunity – there were mistakes at the back for Boro, and it looks as though Stevenage, despite their great start, miss the steady influence of the Mark Roberts/Scott Laird left-sided defensive partnership after Laird’s departure to Preston in the summer.
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There was little, though, that Stevenage could do about the opener, which came on 26 minutes from the head of Hopper who looped a Mark Hughes ball over Boro goalkeeper Chris Day with the back of his head.
Until that point there had been few real attempts on goal, although Greg Tansey’s neat turn on the edge of the box five minutes earlier deserved better than the effort over the crossbar it produced.
Afterwards, Hopper tested Day again but this time the Stevenage goalkeeper was able to get a hand to his effort and push the ball wide, away from goal.
Bury led at the break, but within 11 minutes of the restart Stevenage had both equalised and then gone ahead.
The first of their two goals came from the head of Marcus Haber who was picked out by Luke Freeman’s corner to the far post.
Haber’s team-mate Tansey has already shown this season that he has a great shot on him, and it was he who got the equaliser.
The Stevenage midfielder has been a slow burner since his arrival in the summer, but when he picked up a Lucas Akins pass outside the Bury box he curled a magnificent weighted ball over Trevor Carson to give Boro the lead.
Boro had made a change at half-time with Oliver Risser replacing Jon Ashton in defence, but it was another substitute, Filipe Morais, who was next to go close for Boro.
Trying to emulate Tansey, with 10 minutes to go, the winger’s curled shot flew just over the crossbar.
While Stevenage’s substitute went close, one of Bury’s did something a little more substantial with just five minutes to go.
Stevenage were caught out on their right side when a pass was picked up by David Worrall whose cross along the six-yard box found the unmarked Mark Cullen who slotted home.
It was poor from Boro, and similarly bad defending almost cost them the point moments later, this time Hopper heading inches wide when he really should have beaten Day.
He failed to do so and Boro survived, though a tougher test awaits them on Tuesday when they travel to Notts County.
Stevenage: Day 6, Gray 5, Charles 5, Roberts 6, Ashton 6 (Risser 46, 6), Grant 7 (Morais 72), Dunne 6, Tansey 7, Akins 6, Freeman 5 (Shroot 82), Haber 6. Subs: Arnold, Ball, Lopez, Comminges.
Bury: Carson 6, Skarz 6, Lockwood 6, Hughes 6, Worrall 7, Schumacher 6, Carrington 6 (Cullen 82), Jones 5, John-Lewis (Marshall 20, 6), Healy 5 (Sweeney 65, 5), Hooper 7. Subs: Byrne, Elford-Alliyu,Sodje, Belford.
Att: 2660 (163)