Ten-men Boro sink Northwich
Northwich Victoria 0 Stevenage Borough 1 BORO took all the points at the Victoria Stadium but once again had to show their resiliency as they were reduced to 10 men for almost an hour of the game. Mark Roberts scored against his former club to secure the
Northwich Victoria 0 Stevenage Borough 1
BORO took all the points at the Victoria Stadium but once again had to show their resiliency as they were reduced to 10 men for almost an hour of the game.
Mark Roberts scored against his former club to secure the win while Ronnie Henry took an early shower for apparently treading on debutant Kyle Perry after the new boy had lashed out at him.
Lee Boylan returned to the starting line up as Peter Vincenti was relegated to the bench but the recalled striker lasted just 51 minutes as he struggled to run off a tackle on the edge of the area that was a high foot to the chest.
Andy Drury couldn't find the target from the resulting free kick as it was blocked and cleared.
Steve Morison had a tough game as Simon Grand frustrated him by constantly grabbing the frontman's shirt and generally being a nuisance and it was no surprise when Morison got booked even though it was a mild offence as the frustration was starting to show.
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Graham Westley appeared to be just as bemused, going as far as to physically show the fourth official what they were doing.
Mitchell Cole will have been sorry not to open the scoring when the impressive Drury found him on the left hand side but although he beat his man he was unable to beat keeper Ryan Clarke who produced a good save to deny him.
Northwich replied instantly when Damian Reeves flashed his shot just shy of the post, but then came the big talking point of the game.
Henry pushed Perry who retaliated by lashing out at the Boro right back who then was deemed to have trod on Perry who reacted as if Henry had jumped on him and was shown the red card by the official.
Borough regrouped and boldly played with three at the back and it nearly paid dividends when the chance of the half came from a corner and Roberts rose highest but nodded the ball just wide.
It was a golden opportunity missed for the defender, but he was able to make up for it later on.
Northwich had their best opportunity immediately after the break when Michael Aspin shot from distance and the ball appeared to be dipping under the bar but Chris Day produced a cracking save to ensure the game stayed level.
It was a vital save because minutes later Boro went ahead.
The ball was crossed into the area and Cole missed the ball, but Roberts didn't as he lashed his shot low into the bottom corner to give his team the goal they had desperately wanted.
Northwich's Jeff Whitley should have joined Henry back in the dressing rooms but his blatant elbow on Drury resulted in a meagre yellow card but after viewing the other two yellows in the game the punishment hardly fitted the crime.
Still, Boro fought on and Drury and Cole linked up well.
First Cole shot just over the apex of the bar after some great feet from Drury led to the pass, then somehow Drury saw his close range effort saved from Cole's cross.
Boro bossed the rest of the game, with Morison and David Bridges both having good chances from inside the area, and although there were a couple of hairy moments Boro were able to hold out and take a deserved three points.
Westley's team have now made it 19 games without loss and this coming Saturday welcome Ebbsfleet to the Lamex Stadium for the first of two FA Trophy semi-final games.
It will be two-and-a-half weeks until Boro return to league action but for now they will concentrate on trying to book a place at the new Wembley in May.
Boro: Day 7, Henry 6, Ashton 6, Roberts 7, Laird 7, Drury 8*, Bostwick 7, Bridges 6, Cole 7 (Vincenti 90), Boylan 6 (Wilson 51, 7), Morison 6. Subs not used: Bayes, Willock, Mills.