Sensational Stevenage put six past hopeless Hartlepool
- Credit: Archant
Stevenage ran riot at home to Hartlepool United with a thumping 6-1 win with Nottingham Forest loanee Tyler Walker bagging a brace of goals on his Boro debut.
The youngster pulled off a sensational overhead kick before a cool second helped Boro to their biggest win of the season and the first time that they have scored six goals since the 6-0 win away to Yeovil Town back in 2012.
Michael Woods was in the Yeovil side that day and he will be having recurring nightmares this evening after another Boro mauling, but it was a thoroughly deserved win and, if anything, Stevenage should have had even more.
It was a second successive home victory in the league for Boro and put the finish on what had been a woeful week for the club following last Saturday’s 5-2 drubbing at Grimsby Town and the midweek EFL Cup loss at Leyton Orient.
Stevenage made three changes from the side that lost at Orient with Michael Tonge coming in alongside transfer deadline recruits Kgosi Ntlhe (Peterborough) and Walker with Henry Cowans, Charlie Lee and Jake Hyde making way.
Yet Boro fell behind as early as the fifth minute. Fraser Franks had gone close with a header moments earlier, only to put it wide, but Stevenage then fell behind.
A cross came in from the right and Dean Wells, stretching, couldn’t quite get enough on it to head it to safety. Instead it came off Franks and Jamie Jones wasn’t able to gather, allowing Nathan Thomas to sneak in and punish their hosts.
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Boro’s build up play was slow at times but for most of the remainder of the half they controlled the game and forced numerous set pieces, including a free-kick which Adam Bartlett saved and a Michael Tonge corner which Franks sliced off target.
Jamie Jones made a fine save from Lewis Alessandra’s free-kick as he touched the ball on to the bar, and Boro were grateful that he had kept the score at 1-0 as moments later they had an attack themselves and were able to get back on level terms.
It was a move which started with Tom Pett, vying with Walker for man of the match, through the middle, and the winger played a pass out to Matt Godden before continuing his run, and stroking the return pass into the net.
Boro almost went ahead moments later, but this time it was Hartlepool’s goalkeeper’s turn to make an outstanding save to keep Andrew Fox’s from creeping just inside his post.
Walker then showed just why Nottingham’s Forest have high hopes for him with a tricky run and shot which looked to be curling in only for Bartlett to make another terrific stop.
And if that wasn’t an indication of his quality, the England U20 international then scored a wonderful goal just before half-time to put Boro into the lead.
It was from another Tonge corner, and as the ball came to Walker, who had his back to goal, the striker executed a superb overhead kick to fire Stevenage into a deserved lead at the break.
Boro extended their lead early in the second half and it came from the head of Dean Wells. The centre-back had two bites at the cherry, and after his first had hit the bar he was there to nod in from two yards for a 3-1 lead.
Another goal soon followed, and it was Walker’s second of the afternoon. Pett started the move off with a pass out to Fox on the left, and after taking advantage of slack marking the winger picked out Walker who hit a low first-time shot past Bartlett and into the bottom corner.
Boro then added a fifth, and this one came from a spot kick. Andrew Fox played the ball inside for Pett, and the winger was tripped.
Walker was on a hat-trick, but Tonge was the man who picked up the ball and tucked it away from the spot to make it 5-1.
Stevenage hit Hartlepool with wave after wave of attack, and they sensed a sixth. Godden went close with an audacious volley as the ball dropped to him on the run, and he sent his shot over Bartlett only for the keeper to somehow get a hand to it and push it away from goal.
Godden then got his deserved goal when, running on to a pass over the top, he beat Bartlett to it and nodded into an open net.
There were standing ovations for the likes of Walker and Ronnie Henry as they were substituted late in the game, but to a man Boro’s players all deserved the hearty round of applause they received once the full-time whistle blew.
Stevenage: Jones, Henry (Kerr 81), Ntlhe, Franks, Wells (Lee 77), Pett, King, Tonge, Fox, Godden, Walker (Cowans 74). Subs: Day, Liburd, Hyde, Hunte.
Hartlepool United: Bartlett, Magnay, Carroll, Featherstone, Thomas, Woods (Laurent 70), Deverdics (Painter 56), Richards, Harrison, Amond (Fewster 60), Alessandra. Subs: Hawkins, Martin, Dudzinski, Heardman.