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12:31 16th September 2010


Stevenage fell to defeat for the second time in the league, and once again it was a match that could have easily been so different had Stevenage made the most of their ealy opportunities.

Stevenage made three changes to the team that started against Crewe Alexandra. Stacy Long served his suspension and was replaced by Lawrie Wilson, whilst John Mousinho and Robbie Sinclair were dropped to the bench, with Joel Byrom and Tim Sills starting.

A cleverly worked free kick created the first good chance of the game and it came to Stevenage. Oddly, Ronnie Henry stood over the ball to take the kick, but the workings were good as he passed the ball into the wall, which was filled with Boro players. Byrom was the one who received it and turned and shot towards the top corner, and Scott Brown turned the ball over for a corner.

Mark Roberts was on the end of that particular corner with a golden chance, but he did not connect as he would have liked, and sent the ball wide of the goal as it skimmed off his forehead.

In fact it was Stevenage who dominated the opening half an hour, as they created a bagful of chances, but converting none. Jon Ashton had a header saved easily and Byrom sent another good chance skywards after some great work down the left flank from Scott Laird.

The hosts had only really got themselves into a decent position once, as they fired the ball across goal dangerously, but nobody could get the touch that was required and the ball fizzed safely over the line for a goal kick.

The much vaulted Cheltenham defence seemed shaky every time Boro got forward and certainly had they managed to get a decent sight of goal they could well have broken the deadlock as they surged forward.

Stevenage had settled into the game and were starting to express themselves throughout the half and maybe frustration had begun to set in as Keith Lowe was booked for a late challenge on Byrom. Regardless, Stevenage continued to dominate the game, hustling the Cheltenham players whenever they had the ball and generally winning it.

Cheltenham were asking for a penalty when Wesley Thomas went down in the box, but the referee was having none of it. In fairness despite the anger from the home fans, the referee had not had a bad half getting all the big decisions correct.

Stevenage had a penalty shout of their own when Charlie Griffin was denied the chance to shoot, felled as he went to pull the trigger. Once again the referee deemed that it was not a foul and play continued.

After a worrying moment at the opposite end, Yemi Odubade had a shout for another penalty, but again play continued as Wilson sent a left footed effort over the bar and into the Stevenage fans.
Stevenage remained in control, but the signs were there that Town were beginning to awaken and it wasn't long until Cheltenham breathed life into their game with a goal.

A cross came in from the right hand side, and Thomas rose the highest to head the ball downwards and despite the fact that Chris Day got a hand to it, the ball found the net.
Graham Westley decided a change was required and so brought on Peter Winn to replace Sills and seconds later Boro could have been level. Winn crossed to Odubade who dived for the ball.

His header was on target, but Brown went down to his left and turned the ball around the post magnificently.
So Stevenage threw on Peter Vincenti, sacrificing Odubade for the man from Jersey. Still Stevenage fought but failed to create any real chances, despite a goalmouth scramble as Cheltenham stuck men behind the ball.

On the stroke of the ninety, Thomas had another opportunity to put the game out of reach. His effort was just turned onto the bar by Day, but without doubt it was a warning that Stevenage needed to be careful whilst pushing on.

Just before the final whistle, Stevenage endured their second sending off in a week. Wilson was running alongside Thomas and was deemed to have barged the attacker off of the ball. As such the referee pulled out a second yellow card, meaning Wilson will be suspended for the next match. From the sidelines, it appeared to be a little harsh, but did not alter the game in any way.

So once again, Boro gave a good account of themselves for much of the game, but without putting the ball away, were made to pay for the prolifigacy in front of goal. It's something that Stevenage will need to address.

    Data provided by Press Association


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