Stevenage confirm Sky Bet League Two status with Bristol Rovers stalemate

Michael Tonge

Michael Tonge - Credit: Archant

Stevenage confirmed their Sky Bet League Two status with a battling 0-0 draw at the Lamex Stadium against high-flying Bristol Rovers.

The result meant that York City’s shock 3-1 win over Portsmouth was immaterial.

Realistically safety has been assured for a couple of weeks but there was genuine delight at the final whistle.

For Rovers their tilt at automatic promotion was not totally derailed but it did take a big bump.

The game was not a classic with neither side really creating much.


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It was at the back where Stevanage stood up to be counted with Dean Wells in imperious form, clearing most things that came their way.

The first half wasn’t bad from a possession and territory point of view with Rovers limited to a short spell just after the 20 minute mark.

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But neither side were able to test the other goalkeeper. And there was a lack of a cutting edge for the hosts with Greg Luer and Aaron O’Connor constantly active but unable to create anything clear-cut.

Michael Tonge was the one bright spark for Stevenage with the midfielder looking a class apart.

The nearest Boro came to scoring was a shot on the turn by Fraser Franks heading over the top.

For Rovers the league’s top-scorer Matty Taylor was well marshalled and their best opportunity fell to right back Daniel Leadbitter who fired wide when unmarked right on half-time.

That was Leadbitter’s last action of the game as he was replaced at the break by Billy Bodin.

And the sub brought a fantastic save out of Jamie Jones 20minutes in, the Stevenage stopper getting down low to his left to tip the ball round the post.

Before that Stevenage had looked a lot more threatening but were perhaps guilty of taking one touch or one pass too many at the crucial time.

Luer had their best chance but his low drive after some good interplay was deflected inches wide.

The longer the half went on the more gaps seemed to open up and Boro looked the more likely to find a way through on the counter.

But despite some surging runs by Jake Mulraney that one glorious chance to steal three points was lacking.

Bristol peppered the Stevenage box in the three minutes of added time but that Stevenage defence would not be beaten.

Boro: Jones, Wilkinson, Franks, Luer (Kennedy 71), O’Connor, Pett, Tonge, Parrett, Wells, Henry, Mulraney (Lee 89)

Subs (not used): Day, Keane, Okimo, Conlon, Gorman

Goals:

Bristol Rovers: Mildenhall, Leadbitter (Bodin 46), Brown, Lockyer, Parkes, Clarke, Taylor, Gosling (Easter 71), Lines, Clarke, Gaffney (Harrison 58)

Subs (not used): Puddy, Mansell, Montano, McBurnie

Goals:

Attendance: 3,836

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