Hughes provides spark for victors
PUBLISHED: 09:51 08 March 2007 | UPDATED: 11:37 06 May 2010
Woking 0 Stevenage Boro 1 CLIVE YOULTON reports A CLINICAL finish from Boro s Mark Hughes was enough to silence fierce rivals Woking in an entertaining and passionate clash on Tuesday night. The midfielder s 15th minute slide-rule strike underneath Woking
Woking 0 Stevenage Boro 1
CLIVE YOULTON reports
A CLINICAL finish from Boro's Mark Hughes was enough to silence fierce rivals Woking in an entertaining and passionate clash on Tuesday night.
The midfielder's 15th minute slide-rule strike underneath Woking keeper James Bittner sent the travelling fans into dreamland and ultimately threw Mark Stimson's side straight back into the play-off reckoning.
Boro made a bright start in front of a disappointingly low crowd for this fixture of 1,407, with Mark Beard and Hughes both missing the target from good positions.
The visitors had keeper Alan Julian to thank for giving them the platform from which to snatch the early breakthrough when he flung himself at full stretch to his left to parry Neil Smith's close-range header which seemed destined for the net.
Moments later, the visitors stunned their rivals when Steve Morison capitalised on a defensive mix-up to slot a ball through to Hughes.
The recent signing needed no second invitation to glide into the penalty area before slipping the ball under Bittner and in.
Woking were buoyed into action and former Boro striker Craig McAllister stung the palms of Julian with a fizzing volley from Goma Lambu's cross.
Four bookings, two for each side, punished one or two fierce challenges in that early spell but as the game settled, the visitors looked the classier outfit and were a yard quicker in every department.
Mitchell Cole and Jon Nurse were proving a particular handful with their pace and movement and Cole forced Bittner into a low save from a chance made out of nothing.
Boro walked in at half time having been in complete control and might have added a second soon after the break when Santos Gaia and Morison both had chances to bundle home in a goalmouth scramble.
Just as Stevenage had dominated the first half so the roles were reversed in the second, skipper Ronnie Henry and Gaia magnificent in the heart of defence as they thwarted the Cards at every turn.
Daryl McMahon cleared off the line from Jason Pearce, and it needed the fresh legs of Paul Hakim and Dale Binns, who replaced Beard and Cole, to try and upset Woking's power play.
When Morison slipped a deft pass through to Hakim it seemed the substitute would add a second but Bittner did superbly to come out and block just inside the box.
It was edge of the seat stuff in the final 10 minutes, with Boro forced into some desperate defending while the Cards, inspired by man of the match Tom Hutchinson, searched in vain for the equaliser.
Stimson's men held firm though for an important three points as they switch their attention to the FA Trophy semi-final first leg at Grays Athletic on Saturday.
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