Stevenage throw away early lead to go down to Oldham Athletic

James Dunne netted the opener for Stevenage - but ended up on the losing side

James Dunne netted the opener for Stevenage - but ended up on the losing side - Credit: Archant

Stevenage slumped to a 2-1 defeat against relegation-threatened Oldham Athletic in a drab affair at The Lamex Stadium.

That’s three defeats on the bounce for Smith’s troops in League 1 as their promotion hopes appear to be fading fast.

However optimism will have been high early doors, after James Dunne fired home from 15 yards out after only nine minutes, after terrific work down the right from Lucas Akins.

The former Tranmere winger teased Oldham full-back Jonathan Grounds, fired in a dangerous low ball which was cleared only as far as Dunne, who made no mistake.

Stevenage had made an enthusaistic start to the clash, and a swift counter-attack down the right saw David Gray pass in to the dangerous Akins who won a corner.

From the resultant Luke Freeman set-piece, centre-half Ben Chorley saw a header parried off the line by visiting keeper Alex Cisak.

Oldham’s only real chance in the opening 45 minutes came from giant striker Matt Smith, the man who rescued Oldham against Premier League Everton in the FA Cup on Saturday, with a late leveller.

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Grounds made good space down the left flank, and his ball in was met by Smith, but he looped his header over Chris Day’s bar.

The second half, however, was where the game took a very different twist.

Oldham came out a lot hungrier for the ball, and got their rewards with less than a minute played.

A ball played was pumped into the box, and Smith won the header against Chorley, nodding back to Dean Furman, and in similar fashion to Dunne’s Stevenage opener, he fired the ball past the despairing dive of Day.

The Stevenage keeper was called into action much more in the second period; minutes after the equaliser, Oldham’s Lee Croft beat Miguel Comminges down the right far too easily, looped a ball in and with indecision in the Stevenage defence, Day rescued the situation.

Good play by Croft down the right again saw him cut inside, but he fired a weak shot that was collected by Day.

Day denied Oldham again when a ball into Smith in box again, was nodded down by the frontman to Barnard, and his shot was tipped away one-handed by Day.

It was from the resulting corner that the visitors netted what turned out to be the winner.

Grounds swung over the corner, which missed out dangerman Smith, but James Tarkowski was lurking behind to thump in a header.

The rest of the game saw Stevenage huff and puff but fail to really test Cisak in the Oldham goal.

Powerful striker Marcus Haber was well marshalled by the Oldham defence, and by the final whistle there were yet more groanings of discontent as Boro had slipped to another home defeat.