Wasteful Boro held by Wrexham

Boro 0 Wrexham 0 Boro squandered a host of second half chances and the chance to go within four points of leaders Oxford United at The Lamex Stadium against Wrexham on Tuesday evening. Boro awoke from their slumber after a forgettable first half to crea

Boro 0 Wrexham 0

Boro squandered a host of second half chances and the chance to go within four points of leaders Oxford United at The Lamex Stadium against Wrexham on Tuesday evening.

Boro awoke from their slumber after a forgettable first half to create a host of opportunities in the second period but they could not find the breakthrough against Dean Saunders' Dragons.

Joel Byrom missed the easiest chance of the evening when he fired wide in the 58th minute after being teed up by Yemi Odubade, who was also guilty of missing a presentable opportunity soon afterwards.

Charlie Griffin blazed over from close range but in the end Boro were happy to hear the final whistle as Wrexham discovered a sense of adventure in the closing stages that was only just about stifled thanks to some last-ditch defending from Mark Roberts and Jon Ashton.

The first half was a dour affair with neither side able to gain the ascendancy.

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Wrexham had the first shot in anger when, in the fourth minute, Jamie McCluskey was able wander in from the left flank and fire a 25-yard shot that Chris Day did well to catch in the wet conditions.

Boro struggled to find any kind of attacking fluency and Wrexham were able to deal with any threat they posed with ease in the early stages.

It took until the 20th minute for Boro to have an effort of any note when Joel Byrom's cross found Charlie Griffin whose fearsome shot from the corner of the penalty area was parried around the post by Wrexham goalkeeper Chris Maxwell.

The Boro fans were doing their best to rouse their side and Gareth Taylor felt the brunt of their frustration after clashing with Scott Laird.

The Stevenage faithful were baying for a red card but the referee decided that a yellow card sufficed but the crowd's energy briefly translated on to the pitch when Griffin went close again.

The former Salisbury man rose highest at the back post to meet Chris Beardsley's cross but his header back across goal bounced agonisingly wide with Byrom inches from applying the final touch.

But that was about as good as it got for Boro in the first period and manager Graham Westley clearly wasn't happy with his side's first half display as Mitchell Cole replaced Beardsley at the break.

The speedy winger had missed Boro's wins against Hayes & Yeading and Salisbury with a foot injury but was charged with the task of turning the game in Boro's favour.

But it was the pace of Odubade that almost broke the deadlock in the 55th minute when the striker latched on to an excellent though ball from Byrom. Odubade cut inside from the right flank before unleashing a left-footed strike that Maxwell parried away.

There was more controversy moments later when Taylor blatantly kicked the ball away after the referee had blown for offside. It was a moment of stupidity from the Welsh international having already been booked in the first half but the referee surprisingly took no action.

Boro were gradually wearing down the resistance of the Welsh side and only Byrom will know how he missed a gilt-edged opportunity just before the hour mark to give his side the lead.

Once again the chance was created thanks to Odubade's pace when he got in behind the Wrexham back four. The former Oxford man had spotted the run of Byrom, who was completely unmarked at the back post but, after the ball had been cut back to him, he sliced wide from eight yards with his favoured left foot.

It was one-way traffic now and Maxwell had to be alert in the 65th minute to hack away Ronnie Henry's cross after the defender's fantastic run down the right flank.

But Boro nearly fell foul of the sucker punch when the defence allowed a long ball forward to bounce and Marc Williams pounced with a fine strike that Day tipped over the bar.

Stevenage still looked capable of finding a winner and almost benefited from a piece of poor refereeing when a foul wasn't awarded after Bostwick scythed down Obeng. From the move that followed, Griffin slipped Odubade through but he skewed his shot wide from a tight angle.

Griffin then missed a sitter after Maxwell flapped at Henry's corner but the Boro man lashed over from close range.

Wrexham bizarrely grew in confidence in the closing stages as they decided that attack was the best form of defence. Marc Williams was suddenly finding some space in the Boro back line and only excellent blocks from Roberts and Ashton stopped him from causing Day a serious problem.

Boro (4-3-3): Day, Henry, Bostwick, Roberts, Laird, Murphy (Ashton 51), Brough (Vincenti 84), Byrom, Beardsley (Cole 46), Odubade, Griffin. Subs not used: Bayes, Long.

Wrexham (4-4-2): Maxwell, Obeng, Assoumani, Sinclair, Taylor (Mike Williams 34), Jones, Fleming, Smith, McCluskey (Cieslewicz 75), Taylor, Williams. Subs not used: Westwood, Baynes, Sakho.

Referee: R Fletcher (Derbyshire)

Attendance: 1,763