Late penalty denies Stevenage all three points at Walsall
- Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo
Stevenage were denied three points on the road as Walsall snatched a 1-1 draw inside stoppage time at the end of the League Two match at the Bescot Stadium.
Penalties again were to the fore as they had been on Saturday in the FA Cup. Aramide Oteh scored from the spot for Boro five minutes into the second half but with 90 minutes up, Josh Gordon also converted from 12 yards to grab a point.
It will be a bitter pill for the visitors who looked as if their smash and grab raid had worked but it is yet another example of the newly-found confidence in the side.
Manager Alex Revell may have insisted after the win over Hull that as far as they were concerned, nothing has changed, but it is clear that the squad now have a bit of belief about them.
And the game was also a perfect example of making sure you stay in touch as long as possible.
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Their first-half performance was certainly that of a team who had just played 120 minutes against a higher-ranked opposition.
They looked leggy and unfortunately they came up against a Walsall side who were sprightly from the off.
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The problem for the host was the lack of a decent final ball. Too often the cross was fired too high or failed to beat the first man.
Stevenage’s rearguard action was one of the few areas where they out-gunned the home side.
Scott Cuthbert, restored to the back-line, Remeao Hutton and Luke Prosser hand their hands full with the tall and leggy Elijah Adebayo and he was joined at times by the lively Emmanuel Osadebe and the dynamic Jack Scrimshaw, the pair bursting forward all the time from midfield.
Their efforts prevented Jamie Cumming, Sunday’s hero in the FA Cup, from having much to do. The one time he did have to put fist to ball, it wasn’t convincing but the shot was skied well over the top.
Stevenage did have a couple of attacks on the break but none were truly threatening and it was goal-less at the break.
But that gritty defensive performance got its rewards four minutes into the second half.
A back pass towards Jack Rose was played with the intention of the keeper thumping it upfield and clearing what was limited danger.
It was woefully short though and when Tom Pett got his toe to the ball first, the resulting collision, however slight, was enough for the penalty to be awarded.
Oteh did the rest, smashing it straight and high into the roof of the net.
Walsall decided shortly after to make a quadruple substitution and it was the four up front who were sacrificed.
Oteh was taken off shortly after with Elliot List, the man whose goal eventually brought the penalty success over Hull, coming on.
It was the Walsall subs though, with those extra few minutes of action, who clicked first.
Danny Guthrie and Jack Nolan were involved as the Saddlers forced a couple of corners and forced Cumming into one save.
But the longer the half went on the more Boro appeared to be getting the upper hand.
Danny Newton drove forward and although he could have played List in, he eventually found Charlie Carter whose shot was blocked.
Carter then had a couple more efforts that were blocked by defenders inside the box.
But just as it seemed that Boro had done enough to earn the win, a meeting of bodies ended with Josh Gordon dumped to the floor.
The substitute then did what Oteh had done 40 minutes earlier, slamming it high and straight into the roof of the net.
Stevenage: Cumming, James-Wildin, Vincelot, Cuthbert, Prosser, Carter (Coker 85), Newton, Hutton, Smith, Pett, Oteh (List 65).
Subs (not used): Johnson, Marsh, Vancooten, Iontton, Read.
Goal: Oteh (pen) 50
Booked: Newton 90+3
Walsall: Rose, Norman, Jules, Clarke, Scarr, Kinsella, Adebayo (Gordon 59), Bates (Guthrie 59), McDonald, Osadebe (Lavery 59), Scrimshaw (Nolan 59).
Subs (not used): Roberts, Sinclair, White.
Goal: Gordon (pen) 90+1
HT: Walsall 0 Stevenage 0
Referee: Marc Edwards (Tyne & Wear)