Boxing Day blues for the Boro...
Stevenage fell to a 3-0 Boxing Day defeat at Lincoln City as Darren Sarll’s men failed to capitalise on their early chances before the game got away from them in the second half.
Despite a 1-0 deficit at the break, Boro could be encouraged by their first half performance but the Imps turned it on in the final 45 minutes to stretch their lead.
The manager named an unchanged XI from the side that beat out Chesterfield on Saturday, keeping faith with the same group and formation that saw Boro run out comfortable 5-1 winners.
Confidence was clearly high right from the off – Sarll’s team taking the game to Lincoln and creating a number of early chances.
7 minutes in and Stevenage should have been ahead. Imps keeper, Josh Vickers denying Danny Newton from point blank range before Dale Gorman saw his follow up effort blocked on the line.
Despite enjoying most of the territory throughout the first half, Lincoln posed a serious threat on the break through a direct approach that has served them so well in recent years. The always dangerous Matt Rhead causing problems for the Stevenage defenders with his physical approach to the game.
Matty Godden has his first attempt of the game on 15 minutes as he cut inside from the left before firing at Vickers in goal.
One of the tales of the tape during the first half was Joe Martin’s wicked delivery from set-pieces. On more than one occasion, the ball flashed across the goal and through Stevenage legs in excruciating fashion.
With 30 minutes gone, Jack King couldn’t turn home a Martin free-kick despite being found unmarked at the back-post - the ball seemingly taking the defender by surprise.
It would turn out to be a pivotal moment in the game as minutes later, Lincoln struck. Having denied centre-back Raggett from point blank range just minutes earlier, Joe Fryer was beaten on the second attempt as he prevented Green from opening the scoring, only for Anderson to follow in.
5 minutes later, another Martin delivery caused panic inside the Imps box but again, a blue shirt couldn’t find the required connection.
Aside from the goal against, there would be another incident to cause Stevenage ruing their luck during the first half as Terence Vancooten was forced off following a goalline scramble in our own box. Luke Wilkinson the man to come on just as the game entered the break.
The Red Imps came out fast to start the second half and could have increased their lead during the early exchanges. Matt Rhead saw a backpost header saved by Fryer whilst Harry Anderson blazed over from the edge of the box.
Ben Kennedy came on for Alex Samuel after only 10 minutes as Darren Sarll plotted a route back into the game but a poor start to the half was punished shortly after. Matt Green finding the net from a few yards out after a wicked delivery into the box homed right in on the Lincoln man.
Anderson should have got his second and Lincoln’s third around 5 minutes later as the home side broke Boro’s offside trap leaving a two on one at the back. Despite his earlier goal, Anderson contrived to hit it wide from 6 yards out and central to the goal.
From that point Stevenage would improve in their general play and began to get back to playing football again. Tom Pett (who came on for Gorman) unable to hit the target after Kennedy released him with a backheel inside the box.
There was little penetration to that football though and with 10 minutes to go, Ginnelly wrapped things up. Fryer again, beaten on a follow up from close range.
Overall, a miserable afternoon for Stevenage as attention quickly switches to Crawley away on Saturday.