Stevenage fell to a 3-1 home defeat at the hands of Shrewsbury Town this afternoon.
Despite taking the lead in the first half through Francois Zoko, goals from Adam Reach, Tom Eaves and Joe Jacobson saw Shrews come from behind to claim their first away win of the season.
Graham Westley made two changes from the starting XI which played at Gillingham with Peter Hartley (suspension) and David Gray dropping out. They were replaced by Jimmy Smith, who returned from a ban, and Bruno Andrade who made his first league start for the club. Luke Freeman dropped to left-back with Dean Parrett returning to the bench.
Stevenage started brightly and were on the front foot early on, forcing a couple of early corners which Shrewsbury dealt with comfortably.
Bruno Andrade had the first chance of the game on five minutes, breaking down the right from inside his own half before exchanging passes with Akins and firing an effort straight at Weale.
The visitors spent much of the opening stages looking for Paul Parry on the right wing and on eight minutes his cross flew right across the face of Boro’s goal, with just too much pace for Reach at the back post.
Strikers went close for both teams as the half progressed. Zoko clipped the ball in for Akins, who controlled and attempted a spectacular overhead kick which bounced just wide whilst at the other end Ogwu met a cross which just evaded Day’s post via a deflection.
Boro kept up the intensity with Jon Ashton going close with a header and Andrade nearly setting up Akins, but Mkandawire put in a diving header to incept the winger’s cross.
However the hosts got the goal their early pressure deserved on 24 minutes and from a reliable source. Morais cut in from the left and tried his luck from distance and when the ball clattered the far post it fell kindly for Francois Zoko to find the back of the net from close range.
Stevenage were given a warning five minutes later when Eaves was put through but his left-footed effort was saved by Day’s legs. It was a warning which Boro failed to heed as the visitors equalised on 34 minutes when Reach found himself in space and calmly fired past Day.
On Tuesday night Boro conceded twice in quick succession at Gillingham and it was the same again here as Shrewsbury took the lead just four minutes after drawing the game level. Tom Eaves started and finished the move, picking up possession and spraying the ball out wide before heading home Parry’s cross at the far post.
Joe Jacobson attempted an ambitious effort from distance as Shrewsbury looked for another but they happily took a 2-1 advantage into the break.
Stevenage began the second half as they’d started the game, winning a number of corners but failing to really trouble the Shrews goal.
However it was the visitors who extended their lead on 49 minutes. Eaves wrigged his way past two Boro players before unleashing a fierce effort which Day parried and Ashton headed behind. The resulting corner was recycled, allowing Jacobson to power a header into the back of the net from close range.
With over a third of the game left to play Stevenage had plenty of time to get back into it. On the hour good work by Boro’s midfield saw the ball moved from left to right before Akins’ cross was headed straight at Weale by Zoko.
Akins then tried to make things happen himself when he cut in from the right but saw his left-footed go wide of the near post.
With Boro pushing forward there were opportunities for Shrewsbury to break, with Day having to be alert on 64 minutes to keep out a low effort from Jacobson.
Again the hosts came forward – an Andrade cross somehow evaded everyone and Morais saw a header hooked away just in time.
With 20 minutes left Graham Westley made a double sub with Jordan Burrow and Roarie Deacon on for Heslop and Morais. Burrow nearly had an immediate impact,
flicking a throw-in for Zoko who went down in the box but the referee waved penalty appeals away.
In the closing stages both Deacon and Smith saw efforts fly wide with a couple of Freeman efforts also evading both the back of the net or advancing colleagues.
Whilst Shrewsbury celebrated a rare away win, it proved a frustrating afternoon for Stevenage who will look to bounce back against Stourbridge in the FA Cup next weekend.
Boro: Day, Smith, Jones, Ashton, Freeman, Andrade (Tounkara 78), Heslop (Deacon 70), Doughty, Morais (Burrow 70), Akins, Zoko
Subs not used: Arnold, Wedgbury, Parrett, Tansey
Shrewsbury: Weale, Gayle (McAllister 46), Jones, Mkandawire, Jacobson, Parry, Summerfield, Woods, Reach, Eaves (McAlinden 80), Ugwu
Subs not used: Anyon, Winfield, Bradshaw, McQuade, Marsden, McAlinden
Referee: Carl Berry