Shroot the hero as Boro salvage a point
Stevenage come back from two goals down against Huddersfield
Huddersfield Town 2
ROBIN SHROOT’S 88th-minute equaliser salvaged a point for Boro who came from two goals down against Huddersfield.
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The visitors, who were without 30-goal top-sorer Jordan Rhodes at the Lamex, looked to have sealed the win as early as 10 minutes into the second half thanks to strikes from the impressive Danny Ward and Lee Novak. However Michael Bostwick pulled a goal back with less than 20 minutes remaining before Boro were handed a golden chance to complete the comeback with 10 minutes left – only for Alex Smithies to save Scott Laird’s penalty.
That looked to be that, but with only two minutes of normal time remaining, substitute Jennison Myrie-Williams crossed for fellow sub Shroot to tap home the leveller from close range. The point means Boro leapfrog Carlisle back into the play-off places ahead of their trip to Exeter City on Saturday.
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Both teams started the match with a positive tempo but it was the visitors who nearly took the lead after just six minutes when Ward’s snapshot volley after Alan Lee’s knockdown was well saved by Chris Day.
Manager Gary Smith was forced to replace the injured Jon Ashton and Luke Freeman with Craig Reid and Ben May and both led the line while Michael Bostwick slotted in at centre half, Darius Charles started at left-back behind Scott Laird on the wing.
The first half developed into a scrappy affair after the bright opening and neither team looked particularly threatening in the final third. Boro were guilty of trying to find striker May too quickly, too often, when they would have been better served being more patient in their build-up play. Huddersfield, meanwhile, looked most threatening from set-plays with Sean Morrison’s long throws proving a constant menace inside the Boro box.
Day had to be replaced by Alan Julian at half time due to a shoulder injury and the latter’s first duty was to pick the ball out of his own net when Huddersfield took the lead on 49 minutes. Stacy Long was guilty of giving away possession cheaply in midfield and Novak was allowed to run at the exposed Boro defence unchallenged. Novak played in the impressive Ward whose shot from an acute angle inside the box crept inside Julian’s near post.
If Julian failed to cover himself in glory for that goal, then he certainly didn’t for Huddersfield’s second six minutes later. Novak was allowed to turn 25 yards from goal and his powerful shot looked like it would be parried by Julian, only for the ball to fly past his outstretched arm and into the middle of the goal. It was a poor goal to concede and the visiting supporters were quick to remind Julian at every available opportunity of his costly error with chants such as: ‘two-nil and it’s Julian’s fault’.
The game looked dead all of a sudden and Boro appeared devoid of both hope and ideas. But with 20 minutes left Stevenage pulled a goal back out of nowhere. A corner was poorly cleared and Joel Byrom’s ball back into the box was headed home by Bostwick from six yards.
And with 11 minutes left Boro were awarded the chance to equalise from the penalty spot after Lawrie Wilson was tripped by Morrison. Laird stepped up but his decent effort was superbly clawed away by Alex Smithies. Not for the first time this season Boro had passed up the chance of a goal from 12 yards.
But, as has become the norm with this group of players, Stevenage never gave up and they grabbed the equaliser with two minutes remaining with a goal that owed as much to Huddersfield’s naivety as it did to Boro’s never-say-die attitude. And it was the combination of two substitutes that earned the goal, when Jennison Myrie-Williams cross-cum-shot across the face of goal was smashed home by Robin Shroot at the far post.
Boro pressed during the four minutes of injury time, but they were unable to find the winner.
Stevenage (4-4-2): Day (Julian 45); Henry, Roberts (c), Charles, Laird; Wilson, Bostwick, Byrom, Long (Shroot 66); May, Reid (Myrie-Williams 74).
Subs not used: Edwards, Aneke.
Huddersfield (4-4-2): Smithies; Naysmith, McCombe, Morrison, Hunt; Ward, Gudjonsson (Robinson 85), Gobern (Kay 70), Cadamarteri; Lee (Higginbotham 74), Novak.
Subs not used: Bennett, Roberts.
Attendance: 3,059 (702 away)