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22:56 17th August 2010


Stevenage were unlucky to walk away from this game empty handed as a Gareth Evans penalty gifted Bradford all three points. It was a cruel blow for The Boro who played some excellent football, but couldn't find the net.
There was only one change from the Carling Cup match on Monday evening as John Mousinho replaced the injured Darren Murphy. On the opposite side of the pitch, Boro old boy Luke Oliver started at centre back for Bradford City.

Stevenage began the match brightly with some early pressure, and an early corner kick. Although Boro bossed the opening ten minutes, Jon McLaughlin in the Bradford goal was not called into action as Boro set their stall out to attack.
The first effort on goal came from Chris Beardsley after some good work by Charlie Griffin. His ball into the box found Robbie Sinclair, who nodded the ball down to Beardsley. The striker turned well and unleashed his effort, which flew wide of the goal.

Halfway through the half, after some more domination from Boro, City made their first attempt of the match. Following a free kick, the ball was crossed in from the right and Lee Bullock met the ball with a good header that he sent wide of the goal. It was a reminder though that Bradford were still a threat, despite the lack of forward momentum.

Boro then had two great opportunities to test McLaughlin once again as Joel Byrom sent in a left footed cross. Yemi Odubade picked it up and set himself before hitting the ball right footed into a crowd of players. The ball rebounded nicely for Ronnie Henry, whose left footer rose all the way over the bar from just inside the box.

Stevenage picked up a free kick on the edge of the box for handball minutes later, and after a handful of efforts by Byrom, who was denied every time, the ball fell for Beardsley whose effort went agonisingly wide under pressure.

On the half hour mark, Bradford were given hope against the run of play. Byrom brought down Bullock and Mr Shoebridge had no qualms in pointing to the spot. Up stepped Evans to send Chris Day the wrong way, as he slotted the ball home in the bottom corner.

Stevenage would have felt aggrieved at the score after so much possession, but they responded well as they tried to regain the rhythm that had seen them dominate the game. Boro failed to create any gilt edged chances from there though and the best they could muster before half time was a looping header from Roberts in injury time.

The second half began on an even footing with chances at both ends. Beardsley headed over as he stretched to reach the ball, and Omar Daley troubled the defence before sending a left footed shot wide of the goal.

Stevenage should have been level after fifty two minutes. Shane Duff's attempted back pass to McLaughlin was nowhere near the goalkeeper and Odubade intercepted. A goal seemed inevitable but Odubade gave McLaughlin time to recover, and his shot was saved by the keeper. It was a glaring miss and another slice of luck for the Bantams.

There was a shout for another penalty, this time to Boro, as Odubade was barged off the ball in the area by Oliver, but the referee kept his arms firmly by his side and the game continued.

Griffin was next in line as his header from a Scott Laird cross was sent wide, and Stevenage were again mounting a serious offence as they hunted for the goal that their play deserved. Odubade seemed to be unlucky in his challenges, coming down on the wrong end of them. After some treatment he couldn't run it off and was brought off for Peter Winn.

Stevenage continued to control the game, with Sinclair and Mousinho looking particularly useful for the cause. But despite having the lion's share of the game, the ball just would not fall or find the net.

Substitute Winn came extremely close to levelling the score, with another looping header that didn't dip in time, as it fell the wrong side of the goal. Mousinho sent an effort over the bar from distance and Peter Vincenti joined the fray.

Stevenage barraged the Bantams defence, who offered little resistance and Laird was next to fire a shot in that was not that far off the target. Lee Boylan was brought on as a final throw of the dice.

A last minute corner and free kick were to be the last efforts for Stevenage, but with the corner cleared and Griffins free kick sent over the bar, the result was set.

It was certainly not a fair result on the balance of play, but sometimes football isn't fair. The Barmy Army continued to sing after the event, happy with the effort the players put in. The City fans less so, with some jeers heard around the final whistle amongst the sighs of relief.

Boro may play worse and win this season. For now, the positives must be that the team is coming along nicely. The hope must be that the results will soon follow.

Stevenage (4-3-3) C Day - R Henry, M Bostwick, M Roberts, S Laird - R Sinclair (Sub: L Boylan, 88), J Mousinho, J Byrom - C Beardsley( Sub: P Vincenti, 83), C Griffin, Y Odubade(Sub: P Winn, 63) Substitutes Not Used: A Bayes, L Wilson, D Charles, L Foster. Booked: Griffin, Mousinho. Attendance: 10,967 (283 away)

    Data provided by Press Association


    For the first 50 years of their existence, England played their home matches all around the country.