Play-off heartbreak for Stevenage after Accrington defeat
PUBLISHED: 19:28 06 May 2017
Danny Loo Photography 2017
The name Billy Kee will haunt Stevenage all summer after the Accrington Stanley striker scored twice in a 3-0 win - dashing Boro's play-off hopes.
Stevenage had gone into the game knowing a win, with poor results for Blackpool and Carlisle United, would extend their season by at least another two games.
Ultimately both won making the result at the Lamex moot but Kee’s goals inside the last 20 minutes, the first from the penalty spot meant a big crowd went home disappointed.
Seamus Conneely’s injury time spot-kick was merely salt in the wounds.
Stevenage had sprung a surprise by naming Jack King and Matty Godden in the starting line-up, both having been out with injury.
King lasted just 41 minutes before making way but Godden added a much-needed focal point for the attack.
That said it was Accrington who had the better chances in the first period.
Jamie Jones denied Janoi Donacien with a good sprawling save and Ronnie Henry put his body on the line twice to block Stanley efforts.
Boro may have had more of the ball but even with Godden and Josh McQuoid buzzing around up front, their best efforts came from distance with Steven Schumacher and Connor Ogilvie testing Marak Rodak.
Attention at kick-off had been split with eyes on scores elsewhere.
But as afternoon turned into evening it started to look more and more that the fate of the final play-off spot was falling back into Boro’s hand, if they could get a winner.
The first chances in the second half though fell to the visitors though as Boro started almost nervously.
Jones again had to be alert to shovel a long-range effort round the post and Stevenage were guilty of giving the ball away far too often.
It meant Ben Kennedy was introduced after just 11 minutes.
But bar one flying save by Rodak to deny a Godden header, they couldn’t find a gilt-edged chance.
The penalty when it came looked dubious. If there was contact from Charlie Lee on Seamus McCartan it was minimal but the striker made sure the referee noticed.
But Kee made no mistake from 12 yards, slamming the ball to Jones’s left.
McCartan was provider again for the second, holding up the ball well before a slight lay-off found Kee. Jones got a hand to the subsequent shot but he could only divert it off the inside of the post.
It was tough way to finish what has been an excellent year for Boro but the foundations have been laid for another shot at the top spots next year.
Boro: Jones, Henry, Ogilvie, Wells (Gray 72), King (Wilkinson 41), Pett, Lee, Schumacher, McAnuff, McQuoid (Kennedy 56), Godden
Subs (not used): Day, Franks, Tonge, Cowans
Accrington: Rodak, Pearaon, Hughes, Beckles, Clark, Brown, McCartan, McConville, Connelly, Kee (Gornell 85), Donacien
Subs (not used): Chapman, Husin, Shaw, Ogle, Edwards, Sykes
Goals: Kee (pen) 72, 78, Conneely (pen) 90+3
HT: Stevenage 0 Accrington Stanley 0
Referee: Geoff Eltringham