FA Cup third round
Swansea City A.F.C
Wayne Routledge 7, Viktor Gyokeres 51
Brave but fruitless effort sees Stevenage bow out of FA Cup to Swansea City
- Credit: GAVIN ELLIS/TGS PHOTO
Stevenage were by no means humbled but they still fell to defeat in the FA Cup - losing 2-0 at home to Swansea City in the third round.
The definition of plucky according to Google is "having or showing determined courage in the face of difficulties".
They certainly showed determination but it was the experience and know-how of the Championship side that proved the most crucial attribute.
The performance was what you would have expected of Alex Revell's side. There was drive, effort and desire but they lacked that little bit of quality when it mattered and were undone by two headed goals that saw Swansea players get in ahead of their markers.
One of those was Wayne Routledge who had more reason than most to target a victory as he was part of the Newcastle United that had famously been beaten by Boro back in 2011, 10 years and a day prior.
He was one of seven players to be drafted in by Swansea from the side that had beat Watford 2-1 seven days earlier.
Alex Revell meanwhile would have had decisions to make after naming the exact same side, subs and all, in each of the last two league games.
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For this one though he had three new faces added to his options and nine spots available on the bench.
And he opted to make two changes to the starting line-up, bringing in Luther James-Wildin and debutant Chris Lines in place of Remeao Hutton and Jack Aitchison.
Luke Norris was the other in line for a debut, the former Hitchin Town youngster taking his place on the bench.
And after a cagey start from both teams, Routledge was able to put the ghost of 2011 to be d a little.
A sloppy back pass gave Jamie Cumming little time to react and his hurried and under-pressure clearance was retrieved and sent back into the box.
Yan Dhanda had to check but when he chipped the ball in, the diminutive Routledge got ahead of Ben Coker to guide the header home from three yards.
Jordan Garrick should have made it 2-0 on 20 minutes when he burst through but he inexplicably opted to square it for forward Viktor Gyokeres and the chance went begging.
The latter had the last chance of the half too, curling an effort over the top but in between Stevenage responded well, with plenty of possession and territory.
They didn't truly test Freddie Woodman in the Swans goal but they gave him a few scary moments.
Dan Newton hit a first-time shot just over after a good move and then Charlie Carter, fresh from three goals in two games, glanced a Tom Pett cross just wide
A free-kick awarded right on the edge of the box gave Coker a sight of goals but he drove the set-piece low past the wall and the post as well.
The half-time warm-up of the Boro substitutes was interrupted by Revell calling for Norris to get back into the dressing room and he appeared at the start of the second half in place of Pett.
He almost made it an inspired decision but James-Wildin's cross just evaded him at the far post and when it was pulled back, Coker doing well, Carter went down.
It brought huge cries from the home bench but the referee rightly awarded a corner.
That was met by Scott Cuthbert first and then Terence Vancooten but neither header carried enough power and Woodman grabbed the ball in a comfortable save.
But just as it appeared as if Boro would pull level, it was Swansea who further increased their lead six minutes after the restart.
Again it came from a header that perhaps could have been defended better. Garrick showed a clean pair of heels to Coker down the Swansea right and when the cross came Gyokeres got there first ahead of Cumming to guide it into the corner.
To their credit, Stevenage still kept piling forward and Newton did the same as Garrick, in other words he chose the wrong option when getting in down the right
While Garrick should have shot instead of pulling it back, it was the opposite for Newton who had Norris waiting in the middle for a ball that never came.
Norris also got a foot on a through ball but under pressure from a defender he couldn't get any power on his shot and Woodman gathered easily.
They certainly deserved a goal for their efforts but for a time it seemed as if a dense patch of fog would be their only saviour.
Their big chance came with nine minutes to go when a foul in the box, a possible shirt pull, brought the home side a penalty.
Norris confidently placed the ball on the spot but his low effort to Woodman's right was pushed round the post and the opportunity was gone.
The keeper rubbed alt in the wounds moments later with a flying stop to tip Arthur Read's free-kick away.
And so the FA Cup adventure is over for another year and it will be back to League Two from next week.
They remain just outside of the bottom two despite Southend United's 1-0 win over Barrow but yet again there will be plenty of positives to take into a full week of training.
Stevenage: Cumming, James-Wildin, Coker, Cuthbert, Carter, Newton (Aitchison 63), Vancooten, Read, J.Smith (Vincelot 76), Pett (Norris 46), Lines (Oteh 63).
Subs (not used): Johnson, Prosser, Marsh, List, Marshall.
Booked: Norris 75
Swansea City: Woodman, Manning, Fulton (K.Smith 46), Gyokeres, Routledge (Cullen 65), Dhanda, Naughton, Byers, Evans (Bidwell 72), Garrick, Cabango.
Subs (not used): Webb, Guehi, Grimes, Lowe, Cooper, Williams.
Goals: Routledge 7, Gyokeres 51
Booked: Evans 67
HT: Stevenage 0 Swansea City 1
Referee: Michael Salisbury (Penwortham, Preston)