Elliott List 70
Caolan Lavery 1
Nightmare start but Stevenage come away with draw against Walsall
- Credit: GAVIN ELLIS/TGS PHOTO
Stevenage recovered from conceding a goal in just 14 seconds to grab a draw at home to 10-man Walsall.
The visitors stunned Boro when Caolan Lavery charged down a clearance but after Liam Kinsella was sent-off early in the second-half, Elliott List fired in a equaliser to leave it at 1-1.
It was a deserved point on the balance of play as the hosts controlled long periods but found goalkeeper Liam Roberts a tough nut to crack.
And it continues Stevenage's climb away from trouble, the gap to the relegation places now 10 points.
David Stockdale's last act as a Stevenage player was to save a penalty on Tuesday night at Crawley. He made way for the returning Jamie Cumming, although he did walk straight into the Championship side's team to face Millwall.
However, it was not the return the young Chelsea keeper wanted as his attempted clearance on 14 seconds ricocheted off Caolan Lavery and flew behind him and in.
There may have been no fans in attendance but those who were seemed genuinely stunned for a good five minutes.
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- 2 Development plans for 16.5-acre Stevenage site could create 1,000 jobs
- 3 Historic school to close at end of academic year
- 4 Unannounced safety inspection of care home following COVID-19 outbreak
- 5 Man arrested in connection with petrol station robbery
- 6 Increase in town centre parking charges 'is no help to beleaguered shops clinging on'
- 7 Decision made on opening play areas in Stevenage
- 8 Missing Stevenage teen found
- 9 Council tax to rise in county after 'extraordinary' year
- 10 COVID deaths fall by 50% in Herts hospitals
And yet Stevenage's response was commendable. Yes, Walsall didn't have a need to over commit going forward, preferring to defend and look for the counter, but Boro dominated for the remainder of the half.
And they had chances too, although they found Liam Roberts having a thoroughly enjoyable time between the sticks.
Another of the Stevenage heroes from Tuesday's win in Sussex, goal scorer Elliot Osborne, started and he had the keeper springing to his right to push another curling effort wide.
He had done the same from Luther James-Wildin, a shot from a central position 20 yards out, and the best of the bunch was a one-handed leap to claw an Elliott List header destined for the top corner.
A free-kick nodded back across goal from Luke Prosser, Luke Norris and List both unable to get a telling touch, List hitting the side-netting following a great through ball by Tom Pett and numerous good crosses from James-Wildin and Ben Coker kept the pressure on but the Saddlers goal remained intact.
The visitors spent the first few minutes of the second period on the front foot but that ended on 56 minutes when Kinsella was given his marching orders.
Yes he took the ball and he avoided making serious connection with Aitchison but he jumped into the tackle with two feet, something you simply can't do.
It led to a resumption of Stevenage pushing on but finding Roberts in great form. He made yet another excellent stop this time to stop Danny Newton, brought on at half-time to replace Norris.
But he was finally beaten with 20 minutes to go.
A long ball forward was controlled by List, with the touch taking him inside and away from the defender. From there, he simply drilled it low with his left foot, finding the gap between goalkeeper and his left-hand post.
The explosive finale never came though and Walsall probably had the best two chances, Daniel Scarr firing over before a header looped onto the roof of the net.
Given the start though, Stevenage will be more than happy with the point.
Stevenage: Cumming, James-Wildin, Coker, Prosser (Martin 63), Osborne, Vancooten, List (Stevens 87), Pett, Aitchison, Norris (Newton 46), Lines.
Subs (not used): Johnson, Vincelot, Cuthbert, Read.
Goal: List 70
Booked: Vancooten 72
Walsall: Roberts, Norman, Melbourne, Sadler, Scarr, Kinsella, Lavery (Bates 70), McDonald (Gordon 61), Osadebe (Cockerill-Mollett 87), White, Vincent.
Subs (not used): Rose, Osei-Yaw, Nolan, Reid.
Goal: Lavery 1
Booked: White 66
Sent-off: Kinsella 56
HT: Stevenage 0 Walsall 1
Referee: Antony Coggins (Bicester)