Stevenage advanced to the Second Round of the Capital One Cup with a hard fought 2-0 win over Championship outfit Ipswich Town this evening.
Second half goals from Filipe Morais and Jordan Burrow gave Graham Westley’s men a notable cup scalp on a summer’s evening at The Lamex.
Graham Westley gave a debut to Jordan Burrow and recalled Filipe Morais after his bright sub appearance on Saturday, with both Luke Jones and Lucas Akins dropping to the bench. Boro were also dealt a blow in the warm-up when Chris Day limped off, leading to a start for Steve Arnold between the sticks.
Both sides had chances in the opening 12 minutes with Christophe Berra seeing a header from a corner cleared off the line before Oumare Tounkara headed over from six yards from a Luke Freeman cross from the right.
Boro kept up the pressure with Greg Tansey seeing an effort blocked and Darius Charles attempting an acrobatic effort from a corner which bounced wide.
Luke Freeman continued to play a prominent role throughout the half, linking up well and constantly testing the Ipswich defence with a number of mazy runs and crosses.
As expected the visitors came into the game more as the half went on and forged a number of good chances. Firstly substitute Carlos Edwards – on for the injured Jay Tabb - was inches away from connecting to a dangerous Hyam cross at the back post. Minutes later he nearly turned provider, seeing a low cross turned behind by Wedgbury under pressure from Nouble.
The diminutive Paul Taylor then forced the save of the game from Steve Arnold, diving to his right to keep out a fierce curling effort from distance as the two teams went in goalless at the break.
Both teams created chances after the restart with Freeman firing a free-kick into the arms of Gerken whilst at the other end Carlos Edwards cut inside Lee Hills but saw his cross drift wide. Nouble then headed over under good pressure from Boro’s defence.
The breakthrough came just five minutes into the second half and it was the hosts who got it. Oumare Tounkara was brought down just inside the box as he looked to get the ball onto his left foot and Filipe Morais stepped up to fire home his second goal in two games to give Boro the lead.
Having gone a goal behind Mick McCarthy opted to change his strike-force shortly afterwards with Daryl Murphy and David McGoldrick coming on for Nouble and Taylor.
The move nearly worked straightaway with Arnold diving to his left to keep out an effort from McGoldrick and Paul Anderson then saw a shot fly just wide after a quick corner was cleared to him on the edge of the box.
Whatever the visitors threw at Boro, the home defence stood firm with Jon Ashton particularly imperious at the back, seemingly getting his head on every single corner and cross into his box.
Graham Westley opted for a change with just under 20 minutes remaining with Robin Shroot and Marcus Haber replacing goalscorer Morais and Tounkara respectively.
The move had an immediate effect as Boro doubled their lead. Shroot and Heslop combined brilliantly on the edge of the box and Jordan Burrow slid in to meet Shroot’s cross to net his first goal in Boro colours, much to the youngster’s obvious delight.
Again Ipswich responded with McGoldrick on a one-man mission to reduce the deficit – firstly seeing a free-kick hit the wall and bounce safely through to Arnold, and then secondly forcing Boro’s keeper into a smart save down low after turning neatly in the box.
Many of the departing Ipswich supporters would have missed another top Arnold save late on as Boro held out to record a brilliant 2-0 win and advance to the next round.
Boro: Arnold, Wedgbury, Ashton, Charles, Hills, Freeman, Tansey, Heslop, Morais (Shroot 72), Tounkara (Haber 72), Burrow (Jones 90)
Subs not used: Akins, N’Guessan, Deacon
Ipswich: Gerkin, Veseli, Chambers, Berra, Smith, Anderson, Hyam, Skuse, Tabb (Edwards 34), Nouble (Murphy 56), Taylor (McGoldrick 56)
Subs not used: Loach, Hewitt, Hammond, Berkane