A win for Boro
Stevenage Boro 2 Crawley Town 1 THESE 90 minutes were a microcosm of Boro s inconsistent season so far. Irresistible in patches, erratic in others, they were indebted to two goals from Jefferson Louis for the vital three points which keep up realistic hop
Stevenage Boro 2 Crawley Town 1
THESE 90 minutes were a microcosm of Boro's inconsistent season so far.
Irresistible in patches, erratic in others, they were indebted to two goals from Jefferson Louis for the vital three points which keep up realistic hopes of a play-off place.
The mixed form of the powerful striker since his arrival in a blaze of goals mirrors that of the Boro team in general but he was definitely hot on Easter Monday.
Boro boss Graham Westley said: "Jeff had his opportunity and took it well when he had the chance.
"He has had to learn to be a team player since he joined us.
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"It's a good reward for Jeff for the work he has put in behind the scenes."
Louis calmed the nerves of the majority of the 2,400 plus crowd by heading the winner 11 minutes from time.
Although generally unconvincing, Boro probably deserved the points on the amount of clear chances they did create during the game.
They started in scintillating fashion and scored as early as the fourth minute.
A breakaway following a Crawley corner saw Ollie Berquez cross and Adam Miller win a vital header.
The ball fell to an unmarked Louis and he smacked the ball first time past Phil Smith with his left foot.
He almost grabbed a second within a minute but the keeper got just enough on his lob to flick it on to the roof of the net.
Boro were playing some decent stuff despite the difficult bobbly nature of the playing surface and Berquez fired over after some wing wizardry from George Boyd.
It was totally out of the blue when Crawley grabbed a 21st minute equaliser.
It was like Land of the Giants as powerhouse striker Daniel Ekoku got the better of Luke Oliver before lifting the ball over Alan Julian.
Boro were obviously rocked and yet could have regained the lead almost immediately.
The crowd were shouting 'goal' as Dino Maamria prodded goalwards when Darryn Stamp nodded back a Boyd cross. Unbelievably the Tunisian managed to miss the target.
Both sides were restricted to long range efforts for the remainder of the half, Smith doing well to tip away a curling effort from Louis after the striker created room for himself on the edge of the area.
Crawley had more of the play in the early stages of the new half and Julian was relieved to gather Lee Blackburn's shot following a goalmouth scramble.
With the game in a lull, Stamp could have given Boro the lead midway through the half as he dived to head a Simon Weatherstone cross just past the post with keeper Smith stranded.
This, the last involvement for Weatherstone and Berquez as Jon Nurse and Justin Gregory came on in a double switch.
Stamp threatened again with his head, Louis hooking the ball across from Miller's ball, but Smith made a competent save.
The keeper was powerless on 79 minutes when Ronnie Henry's long throw was flicked on and Louis stooped to head home at the far post.
Crawley had perhaps been distracted by David Woozley leaving the pitch for treatment after clashing with Louis and a booking for Steve Burton.
There was goalmouth activity at either end in added time.
First Stamp's free header at the back post from a Boyd corner was cleared off the line by Daniel Brown.
Then Crawley could have broken Boro hearts when they threw everyone forward, including Smith, for a corner. It was only half cleared and Ben Judge's goalbound shot was clawed away by Good Friday hero Julian.
It may yet earn Boro a play-off spot and the chance of League football.