GALLERY: Boro make it three wins from four
PUBLISHED: 21:17 24 January 2011
Two goals in first 10 minutes sees off an out of sorts Morecambe
Stevenage 2 Morecambe 0
npower League 2
STEVENAGE made it three wins from four games this afternoon as two goals in the first 10 minutes saw off an out of sorts Morecambe side.
Stevenage, too, were not at their best but took all three points after Scott Laird converted John Mousinho’s cross on five minutes before Kieran Charnock bundled the ball into his own goal four minutes later in front of the lowest league gate at Stevenage this season.
Boro were wasteful in front of goal and should have at least doubled their tally in the first half, whilst in the second, playing on the break, they failed to capitalise on three counter-attacks when they outnumbered their opponents two to one.
Their finishing is representative of Boro’s struggle up front this season with just one goal in their past 10 games coming from the boot of one of their strikers.
That they continue to register goals from other areas of the pitch is testament to their attacking play as a team, but although they have the best defensive record in the league there is a feeling they are missing that clinical finisher who could make the difference for them in tighter games than this.
They have tried, in the short term, to address this with the signing of Norwich City’s Luke Daley on a one-month deal and the striker began the game on the bench alongside Byron Harrison who came on for his home debut late on.
Manager Graham Westley said in the run-up to this game that he wanted his side to start matches on the front foot, and his players did just that with Chris Beardsley firing over the bar on three minutes.
Craig Stanley did the same at the other end for the visitors in a frantic start to the match, before Boro took the lead when Mousinho, out on the left, put his superb cross between a retreating back line and goalkeeper Barry Roche for Laird to slide onto and poke home.
Laird was operating for the most part on the left of midfield ahead of Darius Charles who was starting for the first time since November, and after hitting a volley just wide the 22-year-old set up his side’s second goal when his cross took a touch off Charnock, under pressure from Charlie Griffin, and bounced past Roche and into the net via the post.
Earlier this month Boro had scored twice in the first 10 minutes against Barnet and went on to double their tally in a 4-2 victory. This time, however, they had the chances but not the finishing with Griffin’s 16th minute effort the best of the first half.
Against the Bees on January 3 goalkeeper Chris Day hit a long ball forward which Grant Basey hooked into his own net.
This time the ‘keeper hit a ball over the Morecambe back line which Griffin ran on to, allowed to bounce and with Roche running towards him thundered wide when perhaps a lob would have been a better option.
Stevenage continued to create the better of the chances as their opponents struggled to build play from midfield and when Ronnie Henry crossed from the right after some good build-up play involving Michael Bostwick and Beardsley, Wilson had time to take a touch before shooting just wide.
Laurence Wilson crossed into the near post in a rare Morecambe attack only to see the ball bobble loose and cleared, and the same man bent in a corner with his left foot only to see it cleared from under the bar as the visitors looked to get back into the game.
The truth is that neither side was able to create much for the rest of the half, and for the first 20 minutes of the second period as both sets of defenders got on top of their opponents.
Boro brought on Rob Sinclair and Daley to capitalise on any gaps that might have arisen when Morecambe pushed forward but the visiting centre-backs rarely pushed upfield and neither substitute was able to make a difference.
Daley was also let down by a rare Wilson mistake on 68 minutes when Boro broke on the counter as the wide man left it too late before passing to the fleet-footed striker who, by the time he received the ball on the edge of the Morecambe box, had his pocket picked by a retreating defender.
Morecambe made changes themselves with one substitute, Stuart Hendrie, almost making an immediate impact only to see his 20-yard effort palmed out for a corner by Day with 12 minutes to go
From the resulting corner Boro broke again through Wilson and after passing to Beardsley on the right the wide man continued his run into the centre only to head, unmarked, an inch-perfect Beardsley cross over from 14 yards.
There were further chances for Laird (a free kick which went over), Wilson (a snap-shot from 20 yards) and Morecambe’s Stewart Drummond (just wide of Day’s goal), but this was a day when finishing from both sides left a lot to be desired.
Stevenage (4-4-2): Day 6, Charles 6 (Sinclair 5, 58), Henry 6, Ashton 7, Roberts 6, Wilson 6, Bostwick 6, Mousinho 6 (Harrison, 81), Laird 7, Griffin 6 (Daley, 64), Beardsley 6. Subs: Bayes, Foster, Winn, Bridges.
Morecambe (4-4-2): Roche 6, Capaldi 6, Parrish 6, Charnock 6, McCready 6, Stanley 5, Drummond 7, Wilson 6, Wainwright 6 (Jevons 6, 54), Mullin 5 (Hendrie, 77), Shuker (Rundle, 85) 5. Subs: Bentley, Fleming, Haining, Walker.
Ref: D Whitestone.
Att: 2,002 (86 away)
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