Stevenage’s home woes continue as mistakes give Cambridge United a Legge up
- Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo
Stevenage’s long wait for a home victory continues as goals from Leon Legge and Piero Mingoia, the latter due to a rare Jamie Jones error, handed Cambridge United all three points.
Boro’s last win at the Lamex came against Crawley Town in September, and this defeat was the club’s seventh league game without a victory on home soil.
On that same weekend in September today’s visitors were bottom of the table with no wins anywhere never mind at the Abbey. But following one more defeat at home to Morecambe the following weekend have somehow contrived to put together a dazzling run which saw them seventh going into today’s match.
Yet Shaun Derry’s team have weaknesses; unfortunately for Stevenage, though, they failed to exploit them despite plenty of effort.
Having gone 1-0 down in the first period when Legge was allowed to power home a header from a corner, Boro hit back in the second minute of the second half through the best player on the pitch by some distance, Ben Kennedy.
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Yet despite sensing victory Boro remained conservative when they could have gone for the jugular, and they paid the price when Jones failed to collect a Greg Taylor cross with eight minutes to go and Mingoia blasted home for victory.
The visitors, buoyed on by a fine first half from Luke Berry who found too much space between Stevenage’s lines for the home side’s liking, took the lead on 20 minutes with Boro once again undone through a set piece.
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Ronnie Henry, whose running down the right played a huge part in Kennedy’s ability to find space on that side of the pitch, produced a fine headed clearance two yards out only for the resulting corner to be firmly headed in by Legge without much of a challenge.
Boro had plenty of chances of their own in the first half with Matt Godden’s low shot kept out superbly by Will Norris, while Kennedy went down in the box under pressure from Brad Halliday. Boro screamed penalty and boss Darren Sarll screamed in frustration as the referee, Dean Whitestone, pointed for a corner.
Stevenage were back level within two minutes of the restart with Kennedy the scorer.
With the forward running at a defender in the box it looked as though he was about to play a pass across the face of goal only to somehow wrap his foot around the ball and squeeze it in at the near post for 1-1.
Cambridge’s Mark Roberts, so long a doyen of the Stevenage defence, was booked in the first half for a foul on Kennedy and in the second was beaten by another decent turn by the forward.
The scenario was screaming out for the introduction of Harry McKirdy to test the defender’s resolve for the remainder of the game, but Roberts was able to live out the game in relative comfort with much of Boro’s build up play coming from out wide with no fresh impetus through the middle until McKirdy’s introduction with a minute to go.
United claimed a penalty when Harrison Dunk collided with Luke Wilkinson, with Shaun Derry becoming the embodiment of injustice as the referee waved play on.
Berry headed at Jones as Cambridge took the game to Boro in the second period while former Watford forward Uche Ikpeazu, a bulking striker who had left Boro’s defenders with metaphorical bloodied noses at times, blasted wide from 25 yards. Berry then headed against the post.
Dale Gorman struck from distance while Boro brought on Tonge to shore up the midfield, but United just worked their way around it by focusing their attacks out wide. And when Greg Taylor, afforded a rare foray forward after 82 minutes spent in the shadow of Kennedy, crossed the usually-reliable Jones couldn’t get enough on the ball to get it clear and it fell for Mingoia to strike home the winner.
Stevenage: Jones, Henry, Franks, Wilkinson, Ntlhe, Pett, Gorman (McAnuff 72), King (McKirdy 89), Schumacher (Tonge 79), Godden, Kennedy. Subs: Day, Liburd, Lee, Cowans.
Cambridge United: Norris, Taylor, Roberts, Legge, Halliday, Mingoia, Dunk (Maris 59), Dunne, Newton (Clark 81), Berry, Ikpeazu. Subs: Gregory, Adams, Williamson, Long, Dallison.