Stevenage stun Ipswich Town by knocking them out of the EFL Cup

Ben Kennedy

Ben Kennedy - Credit: Archant

Ben Kennedy’s second-half strike dumped Ipswich Town out of the EFL Cup as Darren Sarll’s men booked their place in the second round of the competition.

Just 12 months ago Boro took the lead in the same round of the competition against the same opponent only to lose that tie 2-1. But not this time.

Whereas Kennedy’s goal brought the inevitable Ipswich pressure, this year Boro were able to withstand the onslaught and register a superb win to put Saturday’s disappointing defeat to Crewe Alexandra in the league well and truly behind them.

The match began evenly with an early header from Luke Wilkinson which flashed just wide, while at the other end Jonathan Douglas used his head when he should have stayed on his feet and nodded Andre Dozell’s cross off target.

But slowly the hosts began to take a foothold in the game, exploiting space out on both flanks to test the heading ability of Boro’s back line especially on the Town left.

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Too many times they were allowed to put crosses into the box, yet their profligacy in the attacking third allowed Stevenage to ride their luck a little with goalkeeper Jamie Jones able to keep his gloves clean.

He was forced into action early in the second period as half-time substitute David McGoldrick teed up Kevin Bru for a shot, only for it to be hit straight at the Boro stopper.

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At the other end Conlon then tested the reflexes of Dean Gerken, who pushed his free-kick wide, before Boro then took the lead with seven minutes of the half gone.

Ben Kennedy was lurking in the box as Charlie Lee’s shot came in, the young whippersnapper sniffing around for a chance, and when Gerken was unable to hold on to Lee’s effort Kennedy was there to poke it home to give Boro the lead.

Conor Grant then struck a shot straight at Jones, while at the other end Rowan Liburd’s run into the box found him one-on-one with Gerken only to fire low and straight at the Ipswich keeper.

With Bru having gone off the boil Ipswich put their faith in Teddy Bishop to drag them back into the game, but it was McGoldrick who went closest. Turning in space some 25 yards out, he hit a powerful shot at goal only to see Jones react and dive to push it out of harm’s way.

Kennedy also went close again with a little run across the edge of the box before firing just off target, but the youngster didn’t need a second goal with his earlier strike being the difference between the two sides as the full-time whistle blew.

Ipswich: Gerken, Knudsen, Chambers, Smith, Digby, Bru (Bishop 69), Ward, Sears, Douglas, Dozzell (McGoldrick 46), Grant. Subs: Bialkowski, Berra, Skuse, Kenlock, Morris.

Stevenage: Jones, Franks, Henry, Wells (Fox 61), Wilkinson, Conlon (Tonge 87), McAnuff, Gorman, Lee, Kennedy, Liburd (Godden 72). Subs: Day, Pett, Hyde, Donnellan.

Att: 6,858 (245 away)

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