Wroe adds to Boro’s woes
Stevenage’s winless run extends to five games following defeat at Greenhous Meadow
Shrewsbury Town 1 Stevenage 0
NICKY Wroe’s first half goal on Saturday condemned Stevenage to their fifth straight league game without a win.
The midfielder, making his home debut, scored the only goal in a tight game at Greenhous Meadow as the hosts edged past Graham Westley’s men, and as is so often the case with trailing sides in these type of encounters Boro put on a spirited late show but were unable to find the all-important equaliser.
The run of five games without a victory is the worst for Boro since the opening month of the 2008-09 Blue Square Premier season.
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What may comfort some fans is these runs do tend to happen to promoted sides – fellow promoted side Oxford United lost four in a row earlier this season while last season newly promoted Burton (seven games) and Torquay United (nine) both had poor spells – but the problem is how teams can recover.
Boro were much better than in their 3-0 defeat to Bury the previous Tuesday, and they can draw inspiration from the fact that they ran their free-scoring promotion candidate hosts close.
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Player wise, Craig Reid, despite missing a sitter late on, is settling into the team and some of his movement off the ball to find a free yard away from his marker was intelligent, and Joel Byrom, a player who rarely rushes a pass unlike many at this level, made his first start for five months.
What will worry Boro, though, is that on occasion they were again found wanting in the full-back areas and it is from here where the hosts took the lead when Lionel Ainsworth was played in behind Lawrie Wilson on the left and with a burst of pace he took a shot from the edge of the area which was blocked, only for the ball to drop kindly to Wroe to fire home.
For a side which had hit five in the opening 45 minutes of their previous league match, Shrewsbury were far from convincing in the opening 20 minutes and the most lively of the players was Boro’s Rob Sinclair, who partnered Byrom and Ronnie Henry in midfield due to the absence of Michal Bostwick and John Mousinho through injury.
Wroe almost put his side ahead on 22 minutes only for his shot, which looked bound for the crossbar, to be pushed over the bar by the diving Chris Day.
The same player then tested Day five minutes later, but this time the ‘keeper was able to hold on to Wroe’s daisy cutter.
Strong at the back, Boro continued to keep their hosts to attempts from distance but going forward they faced the same problems.
When they tried the alternative of working the ball down the flanks too often the passes were over hit and the strikers were left stranded.
As the game progressed it looked more likely that one goal would win it, and Wroe’s effort did just that. It was a fine finish from Shrewsbury’s bargain �10,000 man.
With the creativity of Byrom and Sinclair across the midfield, Boro dropped Wilson to right-back and on the one first half occasion when he got forward to cross into the box both Reid and Chris Beardsley were guilty of making the same run and neither reached the ball.
Boro’s third striker, new signing Taiwo Atieno, was given 54 minutes before being replaced by Byron Harrison as Stevenage looked to change things up top but it was the home side which almost scored the next goal only for the six-foot Shane Cansdell-Sherriff to head onto the bar.
The second half was far more open as Boro began to probe for an equaliser, but despite Boro being behind Shrewsbury still had good possession and the visitors were often forced to play on the counter-attack.
One of these breaks saw Wilson run 50 yards with the ball before supplying Reid on the edge of the box and the striker switched the ball to his left peg before shooting low across Ben Smith only for the ‘keeper to get a hand to it.
With 20 minutes to go Sinclair also made a charge for the Town box only for his pass to substitute Luke Daley to be blocked on the 18-yard line.
Jon Taylor fired high for Shrewsbury, but Boro were the team with the impetus and deep into injury time they thought they might have pinched it during a frantic 30 second spell.
The best chance fell to Reid after Mark Roberts had laid the ball on a plate to him 14 yards from goal only for the striker to fluff his lines by mistiming the swing of his leg as he looked for his first goal for his new club.
In a frenzied end to the game both Harrison and Byrom had shots blocked and then Daley shot wide on the volley.
You have to go back to May 2008 and the 3-0 play-off defeat to Cambridge United for the last time Boro left the field so dejected after a game, but with games coming thick and fast at this time of the season they have another three points to fight for tomorrow night (Tuesday) at home to Oxford United.
Shrewsbury (4-4-2): Smith 6, Sadley 6, Grandison 7, Sharps 6, Cansdell-Sherriff 7, Wright 6, Wroe 8, Taylor 6, Davis 7 (McIntyre, 77), Ainsworth 7 (Collins, 68), Harrold 5. Subs: Nicholls, Leslie, Goldson, Disley, Downing.
Stevenage (4-3-3): Day 6, Wilson 6, Laird 6, Roberts 7, Ashton 7, Henry 5, Sinclair 7 (Bridges, 82), Byrom 7, Atieno 6 (Harrison, 54), Beardsley 6 (Daley, 69), Reid 6. Subs: Bayes, Foster, Charles, Long.