Boro wins for the third time in succession
Stevenage Boro 2 Halifax Town 1 MARCUS CRAWLEY reports Boro won their third successive match at home to leapfrog over their visitors in the table. For Halifax, it was another defeat on their travels by a single goal margin. The sides were fighting it out
Stevenage Boro 2 Halifax Town 1
MARCUS CRAWLEY reports
Boro won their third successive match at home to leapfrog over their visitors in the table.
For Halifax, it was another defeat on their travels by a single goal margin.
The sides were fighting it out at the top end of the table last season and both showed enough on Saturday to suggest they will not be at the wrong end for too much longer in this campaign.
Fielding an unchanged line-up for the third game in a row, Boro took the lead but only after Halifax had bossed the early stages.
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Lewis Killeen tried his luck from distance for the visitors as early as the fourth minute with Halifax's neat approach play generally failing to produce an end result.
The home side grabbed the initiative in the 18th minute as Craig Dobson laid the ball back into the path of Barry Fuller. He crossed first time and Steve Morison headed it home on the bounce into the corner.
It was almost two within a minute as Morison was put clean through by Mark Beard but goalkeeper Craig Mawson came to his side's rescue.
Halifax skipper Martin Foster and Greg Young were cautioned by referee Amy Rayner as things started to go wrong for the visitors.
Their mood was lifted by an equaliser in the 32nd minute as Gus Uhlenbeek was afforded too much time and space down the right and he crossed low for Ryan Sugden to convert.
Halifax keeper Mawson seemed lucky to escape censure for handling outside his area minutes later but the officials took no action.
In added time, Boro had the ball in the net but it was disallowed for offside. Dwane Lee's through ball was picked up by Dobson and although he beat Mawson, his celebrations were cut short by the flag.
There was an incident packed start to the second period as both sides traded opportunities.
First Boro attacked and Dobson's rising shot was just over Mawson's goal.
Then, from a Jake Wright cross, a bullet header from Sugden flew inches over. To make it worse, the brave striker took a clatter for his troubles.
Boro also had the ball in the net for the second time within a few minutes of action, only for it to be ruled out for offside. This time it was Morison who had his joy shortlived.
The home side were celebrating on 51 minutes though and this time there was no argument. John Nutter's hurried clearance fell to Morison and he waited before releasing George Boyd to slot the ball beyond Mawson.
The Halifax threat remained and flying Dutchman Uhlenbeek played in Andy Campbell and only the alertness of Santos Gaia cut out the cross.
On the hour, Boro captain Ronnie Henry sent a powerful header straight at the keeper as his side took a short corner.
Sugden responded for the visitors with a low shot that was well held by Alan Julian and minutes later the two were in the thick of things action. The whistle had already blown for an infringement on this occasion as Sugden's header was saved.
Morison shot just wide from an acute angle for Boro and the striker showed good skill to completely fox Mark Roberts on the touchline in another attack. But, with Boyd waiting, his final ball was easily cut out.
Halifax boss Chris Wilder made a double switch a quarter of an hour from time in an effort to rescue a point.
One of the substitutes, Chris Senior, almost made an immediate and dramatic introduction but Henry was on hand once more to make a vital intervention.
Boro also made two changes with time running out, Steve Guppy and Beard replaced by the returning Jon Nurse and new boy Hasim Deen.
After Greg Young had headed wide from a Halifax corner at one end, the home side's newcomers could have netted a third as Deen sent rather a tame shot at Mawson after being released by Nurse.
The lively Nurse then struck a post from a narrow angle with Boro claiming Mawson had pushed the effort on to the woodwork.
And the striker become the second player from the home side to be cautioned - following Boyd earlier in the half - in added time.
Halifax had a presentable opportunity to gain a point with the two minutes of added time already up.
Their other substitute, Nicky Gray, pulled a shooting chance wide of the goal with nobody able to get a decisive touch at the far post.