Wilson earns late win for Boro
Stevenage get back to winning ways with a dramatic victory over Oldham
Oldham Athletic 0
LAWRIE WILSON scored a stoppage-time winner for Stevenage on Tuesday night to earn a first win in eight matches in dramatic fashion.
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This was arguably one of Boro’s worst performances of the season – and quite possibly Oldham’s, too – such was the lack of quality on show at the Lamex Stadium. But it’s amazing how a single goal can change the disposition of a club and its supporters in a split second. When clock struck 90 minutes, Gary Smith and his team were facing the prospect of yet another match without a win, and supporters wondering if their team had finally lost the spark that propelled them from the Conference to League 1 play-off contenders in just two seasons.
As it turned out, Wilson’s diving header with seconds remaining lifted the gloom and frustration which had been apparent in the previous 90 minutes of football – and all of a sudden Boro go into Saturday’s match away at Hartlepool with renewed vigour and the play-offs firmly back in their minds after reducing the deficit to two points off sixth placed Notts County.
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The majority of this match was dire. The excellent passing and possession play Boro displayed against Tottenham Hotspur last week had seemingly been forgotten. Oldham weren’t any better and rarely threatened Chris Day’s goal in the first half, but Smith’s frustration eventually boiled over with 10 minutes of the first period remaining when he snapped at Luke Freeman’s lazy attempt to hand Lawrie Wilson the ball before a throw-in. He wasn’t happy with what he was seeing from his players.
Frustration was evident all over the park, not just from the dugout. Countless times hopeless balls were knocked into the channels where Jordan Slew and Craig Reid did their best to chase down lost causes – a tactic that clearly wasn’t yielding results. Smith continued to instruct his team to play through midfield and show more confidence in possession and build attacks more patiently, but this rarely happened.
There were a couple of moments of attacking promise from Boro which stemmed from Freeman. Firstly he cut between two players from the right before seeing his shot comfortably saved. Then the former Arsenal man got to the byline before seeing his teasing centre somehow missed at the back post by Scott Laird and cleared to safety.
There’s no doubt Boro were better after the break and on the occasions they did work the ball into good areas they were unfortunate not to have taken the lead. Neat build-up play between Slew and Reid resulted in the latter seeing his low shot well saved by Alex Cisak.
At the other end, Oldham rarely threatened but it needed a last-ditch tackle from defender Jon Ashton with 13 minutes remaining to deny Shefki Kuqi in the six yard box when a goal looked almost certain following an unusual mistake by Mark Roberts.
Michael Bostwick was desperately unlucky to see his fierce first-time volley dip inches wide of the post in the dying stages as it looked like being a bad day at the office for the hosts. But a minute into stoppage time the winner eventually came and the relief around the stadium was almost tangible. Darius Charles sent in a first time cross from the left and Wilson, who had played over an hour of the match at right-back in place of the injured Ronnie Henry, produced a brave diving header that flew into the far corner past Cisak.
It may have not been the most deserved of victories, but Stevenage showed once again that this team never knows when it’s beaten.
Stevenage (4-4-2): Day; Wilson, Ashton, Roberts, Charles; Freeman (Lascelles 68), Bostwick, Byrom, Laird; Slew (Agyemang 63), Reid (Myrie-Williams 80).
Subs not used: Julian, Shroot.
Oldham Athletic (4-4-2): Cisak; Lee, M’Voto, Diamond (c) (Tarkowski 11), Brown; Morais, McChanggama, Adeyemi, Taylor; Reid (Smith 81), Kuqi.
Subs not used: Bouzaniz, Winchester, Mellor.
Att: 2,453 (191)