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00:57 22nd June 2012

Stevenage earned their first three points of the campaign with a Lucas Akins strike enough to secure a victory over Leyton Orient.

The travelling Boro fans played a huge part in the result, at times it looked as though the home side may be able to sneak back into the game but the vocal support seemed to lift the players on several occasions.

Gary Smith made three changes to the side that had started both the Capital One Cup first round and League One opener, and one of those paid dividends 25 minutes into the tie. Lucas Akins came in on the right hand side of the trio behind the striker, with Filipe Morais dropping to the bench, and it was the former Tranmere Rovers man that broke the deadlock.

Boro won a free kick which was curled low into the area by Luke Freeman; for what seemed like an age it was a game of pinball in the box until eventually Robin Shroot, starting in place of Greg Tansey, pulled it down for Akins who hit a firm shot through the crowded six yard box and also through the ‘keeper’s legs. 

The final change to the starting line-up saw the return of Jon Ashton at centre back. The 29 year old partnered captain Mark Roberts in the middle of defence but they were given relatively little work before the opener. Orient looked as though they could pose a threat when in possession, with movement off the ball key to their advances; however sloppy passing was costing them any guilt-edge chances. After Akins first goal for the club Michael Symes had a chance to pull his side level but a back post header was comfortably wide of Chris Day’s goal. 

The rest of the first 45 minutes continued in the same vein but after the break Orient, who had departed to a chorus of boos at the half time whistle, seemed to have picked up the tempo. Mathieu Baudry saw calls for a penalty waved away by referee Steve Rushton and their general build up play improved vastly. At the other end James Dunne and Tansey, the latter subbed on at the break for Shroot, saw low drives blocked en route to goal whilst Anthony Grant’s effort curled wide of the bottom corner.

As the game progressed and score remained the same there was always the chance that the O’s could pull out an equaliser. There 474 travelling Stevenage fans didn’t seem to feel any tension and remained in strong voice throughout. Freeman made way for Morais with quarter of an hour remaining, the switch coming after the former Arsenal youngster had shot wide from the edge of the box. 

Still the home side rallied and an aerial bombardment ensued late on – long throws seemed to be the name of the game and unlike the characteristically low and flat trajectory of a throw into the box these looped high in the air and gave defenders a lot of thinking time. Stevenage coped at the back and attentions switched to a more counter-attacking style of play. Nervous for those watching on but the confidence on the field looked clear. 

Four minutes of added time could have yielded more in the way of defensive work for Roberts and co but Boro managed to keep the ball well and deny Russell Slade’s men a sniff at goal. Before long the full time whistle came and three points were secured. 

Stevenage (4-2-3-1) Day; Gray, Ashton, Roberts, Charles; Dunne, Grant; Akins, Shroot (Tansey 45), Freeman (Morais 73); Haber (Thalassitis 89)
Unused Subs: Arnold, Furlonge, Ball, N’Gala

Att: 3562 (474 away)
    Data provided by Press Association


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