Boro run aground!
Stevenage Boro 0 Southport 1 MARCUS CRAWLEY reports RONNIE Henry will not remember his meetings with Southport this season with any fondness. The central defender celebrated another call-up for the England National Game XI with an afternoon to forget. I
Stevenage Boro 0 Southport 1
MARCUS CRAWLEY reports
RONNIE Henry will not remember his meetings with Southport this season with any fondness.
The central defender 'celebrated' another call-up for the England National Game XI with an afternoon to forget.
Injured in the first meeting between the sides, which the hosts won 3-2, Henry had an even worse time on Saturday.
He conceded two penalties and had an early bath after he was red carded following the second award.
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Afternoons do not get much worse than that but his was in keeping with a thoroughly inept display by Boro.
They allowed basement side Southport to complete a league double and the visitors certainly did not look the worst side to play at Broadhall Way so far this season.
Jon Nurse partnered Jefferson Louis in attack but they were generally well shackled by the rugged Southport backline.
Louis had an early shot of his own making after a smart turn but Steve Dickinson got down well at his near post to avert the danger.
The first penalty award of the day came on 19 minutes when Henry's ill-advised challenge on Liam Blakeman was penalised. Carl Baker took responsibility but thumped his spot-kick against Alan Julian's crossbar.
Boro moves kept breaking down in the final third and with their defence not looking particularly secure either, it was a recipe for disaster.
The hosts did show marginal improvement just before the break as Dickinson nearly made a mess of Danny Williams' free-kick but just managed to scramble it around the post.
Then Louis headed across the face of goal from a lovely George Boyd cross in added time.
Boyd was also involved as Boro threatened at the start of the new half, firing a drive just wide after he was gifted possession.
Then with Boro preparing a double switch, Baker hit the woodwork for the second time as his header smacked against an upright.
Julian preserved the status quo with a spectacular diving catch from a Earl Davis header from Chris Lane's free-kick.
This lasted just two minutes more though as Henry produced another defensive howler.
He was tracking back with Neil Robinson and the Southport man looked to have lost possession. But Henry got his feet in a muddle and allowed Robinson to get past him.
A desperate lunge had a clear result and the award of a penalty and Henry's dismissal were obvious.
Robinson picked himself up to send Julian the wrong way from the spot.
Down to 10 men, Boro pushed forward but five cautions for Southport in the last half hour showed their desire to keep what they had earned.
Kevin Leadbetter could have made the points safe for the visitors as his deflected cross-shot nearly crept in and then he shot wide of a gaping net.
Boro looked to have been handed a reprieve, literally, with four minutes to go. Neil Fitzhenry handled unnecessarily in the box and referee Bull had no hesitation in pointing to the spot for the third time of the afternoon.
Sub Darryn Stamp, scorer of hat-tricks in his last two outings, took the kick but it was comfortably pushed away by Dickinson.
An equaliser would have been undeserved and Southport could have added a second in added time as Julian denied sub Nick Rogan.
Boro boss Graham Westley pulled no punches about his team's display.
"The performance was awful and we got what we deserved - nothing.
"Too many players expected to coast through the game. No one could go away saying they had played well.