REPORT: Stevenage 4 MK Dons 2

Bostwick, Charles, Laird and an own goal see Stevenage to victory

Stevenage 4 MK Dons 2

npower League 1

GARY Smith will have liked what he saw last night as Stevenage’s new manager watched his new side take all three points from their encounter against MK Dons.

Smith was in the stands to watch the game ahead of the club’s official announcement that he is Graham Westley’s successor, and he watched on as Boro went about their business in a ruthless style against one of their play-off rivals.

Stevenage made a blistering start in the first minute, but Joel Byrom failed to convert Lawrie Wilson’s cross from the right as he volleyed over the crossbar.

To be fair to Byrom, he was sliding in on the ground when he connected with the ball, but at the other end, a minute later, former Boro loanee Jay O’Shea had the luxury of being on his feet when Chris Day spilled a shot into his path and he struck home to put the Dons ahead after just three minutes.

Most Read

It had been a sensational start full of action and chances kept coming with Byrom again shooting over, this time from 20 yards.

Luke Freeman had started well down the left for the home side but as the MK players double-teamed the winger he drifted inside to find the ball and the home side’s equaliser came from one such move.

Freeman found himself with the ball towards the centre of the pitch, but as the ball rolled across the ground it moved into the path of teammate Michael Bostwick, 30 yards from goal, who put everything behind it. His shot was low, powerful, and it flew past a diving Dave Martin into the bottom corner.

Following Bostwick’s strike the home side grew into the game and saw more of the ball.

Wilson set up their next chance, his quick feet dancing past Dean Lewington before Darius Charles took a touch in the box only to see his effort blocked by Gary MacKenzie.

Stevenage had a slight scare in the first minute of the second half, but Jabo Ibehre’s effort on goal, after the ball had dropped to him from a corner, was hit into Day’s side-netting.

Boro also had a chance, Bostwick’s strike deflecting straight into the arms of Martin, before O’Shea ran down the left before shooting straight at Day who pushed the ball over the bar.

Events swung in Boro’s favour midway through the second half in more ways than one. Firstly, Mathias Doumbe was sent off for a second yellow card. His first, a deliberate handball was joined by a second for a foul on Chris Beardsley.

Not noted for their excellence at free kicks, Stevenage’s ability to score from set pieces seems to have improved with the purchase of Freeman and his free kick following the red card was swung in from the right and Scott Laird flicked the ball on into the corner for 2-1 to Boro.

Finding themselves a man down and conceding a second, MK Dons could not have imagined their night would get any worse but just a minute after scoring their second Boro added a third.

Again Freeman was involved, and his run inside and cross into the box was headed home with confidence from Charles to give his side further breathing space.

Wilson was next to try his luck, shooting just wide from distance, and for a time MK Dons looked out of it but out after building a little possession of their own they grabbed a goal back, O’Shea crossing for Tom Flanagan to head home.

By this time Stevenage had replaced Beardsley with Don Cowan, but it was Cowan’s partner up front Charles who made the game safe for the home team.

His burst of speed near the edge of the MK Dons box caught the visitors by surprise and he waltzed past three players before hitting his cross past Martin where the unlucky Mackenzie could only bundle the ball into his own goal for the final goal of an entertaining evening.

Stevenage: Day; Henry, Laird, Roberts, Ashton; Wilson, Freeman, Bostwick, Byrom; Charles, Beardsley. Subs: Julian, Long, Edwards, Cowan, Shroot.

MK Dons: Martin, Smith, Lewington, Doumbe, Mackenzie, Gleeson, Bowditch, MacDonald, Ibehre, O’Shea, Chadwick. Subs: Flanagan, McLoughlin, Powell, Baldock, McNamee.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter