Creativity issues and hope with Taylor – Three things from Stevenage’s late defeat to Exeter

Paul Taylor of Stevenage forces Lewis Ward of Exeter City into great save during Stevenage vs Exeter

Paul Taylor of Stevenage forces Lewis Ward of Exeter City into great save during Stevenage vs Exeter City, Sky Bet EFL League 2 Football at the Lamex Stadium on 10th August 2019 - Credit: David Simpson/TGS Photo

As Stevenage continue to search for a first League Two win of the new season, CometSport’s Dan Mountney assesses their frustrating 1-0 defeat to Exeter City on Saturday afternoon.

Stevenage manager Dino Maamria during Stevenage vs Exeter City, Sky Bet EFL League 2 Football at the

Stevenage manager Dino Maamria during Stevenage vs Exeter City, Sky Bet EFL League 2 Football at the Lamex Stadium on 10th August 2019 - Credit: David Simpson/TGS Photo

System struggles

After a full pre-season and two league games, it's clear Boro boss Dino Maamria doesn't know what his best system his, although he has been hampered by a summer packed with injuries and recruitment frustration.

Stevenage excelled with a back five system towards the end of last season, and Maamria wanted to stick with that formation.

But, injuries to defenders Ben Nugent and Tyler Denton scuppered that plan, while the absence of Paul Digby and Joel Byrom in midfield has reduced Boro to the bare bones in the centre of the park.

Despondent Stevenage players after Stevenage vs Exeter City, Sky Bet EFL League 2 Football at the La

Despondent Stevenage players after Stevenage vs Exeter City, Sky Bet EFL League 2 Football at the Lamex Stadium on 10th August 2019 - Credit: David Simpson/TGS Photo


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Further forward, Paul Taylor, Danny Newton and Jason Cowley are all lacking match fitness, while last season's top scorer Kurtis Guthrie isn't being given the service he needs.

Maamria will be hoping to have some of his injured stars back soon to form a settled line-up, but that could be a long way off yet, which is a real worry for everyone at the Lamex.

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Lacking creativity

Emmanuel Sonupe of Stevenage and Craig Woodman of Exeter City during Stevenage vs Exeter City, Sky B

Emmanuel Sonupe of Stevenage and Craig Woodman of Exeter City during Stevenage vs Exeter City, Sky Bet EFL League 2 Football at the Lamex Stadium on 10th August 2019 - Credit: David Simpson/TGS Photo

Stevenage have managed just three shots on target in their opening two games. That stat really shows the concerning lack of creativity in Maamria's side.

Ilias Chair provided the spark in Boro's brilliant end of season run last campaign, and they haven't replaced the mercurial attacker, although that was always going to be a tough task.

They kept the ball well at times against Exeter, but found it hard to break them down, and when they did the final pass was lacking.

With not long left in the transfer window, Stevenage need to find a player to spark their attack into life, or could they already have him?

Taylor shows promise

Paul Taylor could be the man to add some much need quality going forward for Boro.

He was a bright spot on Saturday, forcing a good save from Lewis Ward early on and working tirelessly throughout the afternoon.

Taylor's final pass was often lacking, but it's important to note that he isn't match fit yet.

If they can get the experienced forward up to speed, he could well be key for Stevenage this season.

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