Stevenage 2 Notts County 0 - report and gallery
- Credit: Archant
Sam Hoskins scores within 40 seconds in League 1 victory
Stevenage 2 Notts County 0
npower League 1
Stevenage ended their poor run of home form with a victory against a decent, if in flux, Notts County side.
Prior to this game Boro had not won a match at home since October 23, they had lost five of their last six matches home and away, and they had not kept a clean sheet since December 8.
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And if manager Gary Smith was looking for a reaction after Saturday’s defeat at the Lamex Stadium to Leyton Orient, he got just what he wanted – after just 39 seconds.
That is how long it took for Stevenage to take the lead and it came from the boot of Sam Hoskins, a player who looks like he could go some way to deciding just where Boro finish in the table this season.
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In what must have been quite an awakening for Notts County caretaker-manager Chris Kiwomya in his first game in charge, Filipe Morais took on a player, fired at goal and saw his deflected effort drop to Hoskins who passed his shot into the net.
It was a sensational start and did justice to Smith’s attacking selection, with Steve Beleck drafted in to the team ahead of Anthony Grant to spearhead a 4-3-3 formation with Lucas Akins playing high up the left, and Hoskins the right.
The lead, though, almost didn’t last too long, but when County thought that Jeff Hughes had levelled matters two minutes later they were left disappointed by an offside flag.
In the early stages Boro, for whom Miguel Comminges started in place of Darius Charles at left-back, passed the ball neatly and quickly with James Dunne and Greg Tansey imposing themselves on the game, though Akins looked out of sorts.
The winger’s touch let him down on more than one occasion, including when Hoskins sent in a wonderful delivery to the far post and Akins, who should have been expecting the ball despite players in front of him, was unable to control it and it bounced out for a goal kick.
Notts County matched their hosts for the first 45 minutes, and as the half wore on they pinned Boro back for a good 15 minutes during which time only half-chances, including a header from Jeff Hughes, presented themselves.
Both teams started the second half with efforts at goal, but Tansey’s drive was blocked by Dean Leacock and Francis Zoko’s blast went wide.
Jamal Campbell-Ryce also had a shot blocked superbly by Mark Roberts after weaving his way past a number of Stevenage defenders in the box.
Boro made a change with Luke Freeman coming on for the ineffective Akins, but Boro invited quite a bit of pressure on themselves and until Marcus Haber came on for Beleck they struggled for an out ball.
It was also the Canadian who made sure of the points after 89 minutes; Morais provided the cross and Haber the finish, a neat header into the corner.
Next up, this Saturday, is a trip to Carlisle; it’s a long journey and at the end of it awaits a form team.
Stevenage, though, will be making the trip with a renewed confidence, hopeful that the win over County will be the start of something fruitful.
Stevenage (4-3-3): Arnold 6; Gray 6, Comminges 6, Roberts 7, Chorley 7; Morais 7, Dunne 6, Tansey 6; Akins 4 (Freeman 54, 6), Hoskins 7 (Grant 64, 6), Beleck 6 (Haber 70, 6). Subs: Day, Charles, Shroot, Lopez.
Notts County (3-5-2): Speiss 6; Sheehan 6, Leacock 7, Liddle 6; Judge 6, Hughes 7, Mahon 6 (Bencherif 83), Campbell-Ryce 6, Boucaud 6; Zoko 6 (Showunmi 68), Arquin 7. Subs: Pilkington, Kelly, Smith, Waite, Tempest.
Att: 2,550 (215 away)