Swindon Town 3-2 Stevenage: Poor start ensures defeat for Dino Maamria's Boro
PUBLISHED: 21:40 27 November 2018 | UPDATED: 21:40 27 November 2018
Stevenage travelled to Swindon Town for their League Two clash on Tuesday evening. Read on for Layth Yousif’s match report from the County Ground.
Swindon Town beat Stevenage 3-2 in an end-to-end game high on attacking intent at the County Ground on Tuesday evening.
Two goals in the opening five minutes from Robins academy graduates Sol Pryce and Scott Twine shocked Dino Maamria’s side early on.
Talented teen Pryce won’t forget his league debut in a hurry after firing home after only 18 seconds prior to his 19-year-old colleague doubling the lead.
Scott Cuthbert pulled a goal back on 14 minutes before the 18-year-old Pryce grabbed a second before half-time.
Midfielder Joel Byrom fired home with 12 minutes left as Boro hunted an improbable equaliser given the start they made to this entertaining League Two clash.
However the home side held on to claim the points and leave Maamria frustrated again by a poor start by his team.
Stevenage made just one change from the side that beat Saturday’s League Two leaders as the suspended Ben Nugent made way for Luke Wilkinson at centre-half.
With three wins from their last five league matches Maamria’s men – who began the evening in eighth place – were aiming to move into the play-off spots in the congested higher echelons of the fourth tier.
Prior to kick-off all was not well with the Robins, moored in 14th place, with fan discontent aimed at the owner Lee Power, who famously told them: ‘Judge me in five years’ when he took over.
Unfortunately, the rallying cry was issued in 2013 and with the moribund club floundering in the fourth tier a winter of discontent approaches for a club that graced the inaugural Premier League season, and can claim the League Cup as a major honour.
Poor results earlier this term prompted Power to appoint new boss Richie Wellens two days after sacking previous incumbent Phil Brown in mid-November.
Former Manchester United youth Wellens has been relishing his return to the game after leaving his role as Oldham boss in June.
His side certainly reacted well to the new man in the opening stages of the match against their visitors from North Herts as talented teenager Pyrce netted before many in the crowd had even taken their seats.
Keshi Anderson drove down the left flank before feeding Michael Doughty. The left-back looked up and squared for young centre-forward to put his side 1-0 up.
Fellow academy graduate Twine doubled the lead on five minutes when Matty Taylor’s left-footed shot from outside the box was only parried into the path of the 19-year-old who finished from close range to make it 2-0.
It was hard to reconcile this Stevenage side with the team that beat table-toppers MK at the weekend.
Yet this side possess character and rallied to pull a goal back through former Luton Town captain and Celtic youth Cuthbert.
With barely a quarter of an hour gone Byrom played the ball to Saturday’s splendid matchwinner Ben Kennedy. The Northern Irish U21 attacker angled a pinpoint cross for the giant Cuthbert who nodded home from close range to halve the lead and make it 2-1.
The game calmed down for a spell as both sides took stock after the frenetic opening before Swindon’s Stephen Alzate thudded the post from 20 yards before the ball was cleared.
Boro boss Maamria hooked winger Jamal Campbell-Ryce before 30 minutes had elapsed, swapping him for striker Alex Reid.
Former Fleetwood striker Reid nearly made an immediate impact after Byrom’s corner five minutes before the break as the 23-year-old substitute rose highest to aim his header towards goal.
However, home keeper Lawrence Vigouroux was alert to the danger, stretching to deny the Boro striker.
Wellens side increased their lead moments before the interval when Pryce drove on through the heart of the visitors defence to calmly slot home to make it 3-1 seconds before referee Charles Breakspear called a halt to a hectic opening 45 minutes.
The second half continued in the same vein with both sides intent on attacking.
Youngster Twine drove at the heart of the Boro backline beating three men before unleashing a powerful shot Dieng did well to block on the hour.
The Robins Luke Woolfenden connected with a Taylor cross deep in the box, forcing Dieng to thwart the 20-year-old Ipswich Town attacker plying his trade at the County Ground on a season long loan.
Ellis Iandolo spun into space at the edge of the box prior to curling his effort over the top corner.
Maamria’s men refused to give in with Byrom pulling a goal back with 12 minutes remaining to set up a grandstand finish as Swindon ultimately claimed the three points.
Follow Layth on Twitter @laythy29