Stevenage 1-1 Coventry City: Tom Pett salvages valuable point for Boro
PUBLISHED: 23:13 21 November 2017 | UPDATED: 23:59 21 November 2017
Danny Loo Photography 2017
Darren Sarll’s Stevenage claimed a 1-1 draw against fellow play-off hopefuls Coventry on Tuesday night after a plucky and spirited display.
Sarll’s young side were gritty throughout, with their outstanding winger Tom Pett notching the equaliser.
The opening twenty minutes were exuberant, lively, snappy - but short on quality. Pett showed some superb, gossamer-woven touches on the wing, but neither side was able to fashion a shot on target.
Coventry’s opening spell didn’t do justice to their magnificent away fans, either. For all their incessant singing, the Sky Blues might have just won the FA Cup again – three decades on from their 1987 heyday.
Danny Newton hustled impressively up top for Stevenage, clearly keen to prove Coventry boss Mark Robins wrong. Robins admitted this week he was ‘looking into’ signing Newton, but ultimately chose not to buy him. His performance will have made Robins think twice about his decision.
On twenty minutes, the game sprang to life. Joe Fryer made a superb recovery save from Mark McNulty’s shot after a defensive mix-up, but the resulting corner led to another mix-up which Boro should have dealt with better. The ball was eventually forced over the line by McNulty. Unfortunately for Stevenage, Fryer’s superb recovery save counted for nothing.
Pett continued to drive at the Sky Blues defence, with one snaking run leading to a silly booking for Coventry’s local lad Jordan Shipley.
Boro began to push for an equaliser as the half neared its close, and a corner was spilled by Coventry keeper Lee Burge after some great work from Pett.
Harry Beautyman was starting to influence proceedings, driving forward from central midfield nearly every time he got the ball. But Coventry kept it cool at the back, marshalled by impressive Rod McDonald, and they were still 1-0 up when the half-time whistle blew.
The second half began in controversial fashion, with the referee signalling a foul when Coventry were clean through. Seconds later, Sky Blues target-man Max Biamou was pulled up for a foul when again clean through, incensing their fans behind the goal. Boro were lucky not to be further behind.
With Coventry were spurred on by attacking the away stand where their loyal fans were housed.
Jones again drove at Joe Martin, fizzing in a low cross which was narrowly cleared. Winger Jodi Jones, Biamou and McNulty were starting to find each other’s rhythms, crafting triangles of passes and flitting between the lines.
But with fifteen minutes left, and Coventry looking the likely victors, Pett came up with his magic. The ball fell to him on the edge of the box after yet more Newton hustling, and he lashed a vicious drive into the roof of the net with his weaker left foot. If anyone on the pitch deserved a goal, it was the twenty-five year old.
Both sides could have won it at the death, Shipley volleyed over for Coventry and Boro went agonisingly close several times from a series of corners.
Stevenage ultimately gained their point after seven minutes of added time after a serious injury for City’s Jones – for with Pett in this form, they have a player to salvage any match.