Stevenage 0-1 Swindon Town: Boro punished for poor chance creation in tight affair
PUBLISHED: 22:29 30 January 2018 | UPDATED: 22:29 30 January 2018
Stevenage were edged 1-0 by Swindon Town in a scrappy League Two encounter on Tuesday night.
Ollie Banks’ goal was enough to give Boro their first league loss of the year in a tight, stop-start affair at the Lamex.
Luke Amos, the newly signed midfielder on-loan from Tottenham, started on the bench for Stevenage, who began the game fourteenth, nine points behind promotion candidates Swindon in eighth.
The visitors had won four of their last five games in League Two, while Boro started the game unbeaten since the new-year. The sides’ most recent meeting was in the FA Cup Second Round, with Stevenage thumping Swindon 5-2 in December.
Boro started with Fraser Franks playing just in front of the back four, with their front three of Danny Newton, Matty Godden and Ben Kennedy ahead of Mark McKee and Jonathan Smith in the midfield.
With their brand new singing, 34-year-old striker Alex Revell, watching on from the stands, the game kicked off with Swindon’s travelling fans in good voice and a rainy mist hanging in the air.
After a featureless opening 15 minutes, Swindon got the opener when former West Ham and Portsmouth player Matt Taylor’s in-swinging corner met the unmarked head of Ollie Banks, whose header flew past Tom King’s left after 16 minutes.
The remainder of the half was scrappy and largely dull. Amos came on for his debut just before the break, replacing captain fantastic Ronnie Henry who had picked up a knock. Danny Newton also had to be replaced, Tom Conlon coming on.
Franks moved to right-back as a result of the changes, with Smith dropping just in front of the back four. Amos moved into the midfield while Conlon moved straight in to right wing in place of Boro’s flick on master, Newton.
The game restarted with Stevenage looking more composed, trying to get the ball down and increase the tempo. They looked more positive after the restart as Swindon sat behind the ball.
Amos looked very composed in the middle on his debut, displaying a classy touch and good vision in the middle. Terence Vancooten also had a good game at left-back.
Their positive play came to nothing, as Stevenage couldn’t even muster a proper chance. Although conceding most of the possession, Swindon had more shots on target, all from outside the box.
Boro boss Darren Sarll waited until the last third of the match to bring on another striker, substituting on Jamie Gray in place of Mark McKee, as Stevenage switched to a 4-4-2.
The entire half went without another clear cut chance, and Boro tallied their first loss of 2018. They lacked urgency and quality in the final third.
Neither side could really say they deserved to win, however Swindon punished Boro in the only big defensive mistake of the match, leaving Banks un-marked.
In a game lacking much quality, Boro’s man of the match was Vancooten, for a composed display at left-back, despite preferring his right foot.
In their next game Boro travel to Accrington Stanley for another League Two clash.