Walsall 1 Stevenage 0

Late Paterson strike condemns Boro to third straight defeat

Walsall 1 Stevenage 0

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“I thought the game had 0-0 written all over it,” said Gary Smith after this match.

But unfortunately the Gods conspired against his team and with three minutes to go Jamie Paterson hit a shot from distance past Steve Arnold in the Stevenage goal to light up what had been until that point a rather forgettable encounter on a bog of a pitch.

“It was a really, really difficult pitch,” Smith said.

“You don’t often see them in the modern game but it was extremely heavy and cut up badly on the surface.”

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Both teams struggled in the conditions and for the most part both sides were limited to shots from distance, including Paterson’s late strike.

“I thought Walsall probably had the slightly better pressure but both sides were limited to long-range efforts,” Smith added.

“The difference in the game was a terrific strike from the young man on their side and it flies in.

“Probably our best chances was Felipe’s free-kick which hit the underside of the bar and flies out. At the moment it’s just not going our way.”

Stevenage matched their opponents for much of the match, though it was the home side that probably had the better of the chances.

Twice Will Gregg went close for the hosts before the referee played advantage after Sam Mantom had been fouled with three minutes to go and Paterson struck the winner.

Boro had begun the game with Marcus Haber on the bench as Smith opted for a change up top in a bid to change his side’s fortunes, but Patrick Agyemang continues to have a frustrating time at Boro and was taken off at the break because of a hamstring injury.

“I felt there were some decisions that needed to be made to freshen the group up, to give us stability to the group and in the main it worked,” Smith said.

“Was it wrong because we conceded an 86th minute corker of a strike? “In the end it is because we got beat.”

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