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MORGAN STRIKE SINKS STEVENAGE

24 February 2013

Stevenage fell to defeat at the Greenhous Meadow with a last-gasp goal condemning the side to victory.


It was a far improved Boro performance, manager Gary Smith made four changes to his starting line-up and a 3-5-2 formation was evident when in attack. After 20 minutes the pressure being applied paid off and the away side led.


James Dunne had his name on the score sheet and at the same time added another goal to his highlights reel with a wonderful volley but just 11 minutes passed until the Shrews drew level.


Paul Parry had it; his angled shot across goal beat Chris Day and found the bottom corner and it was the first part of a heart-breaking turnaround in the game. The second half was tough and tightly contested, and with 4 minutes to go that pressure produced the games third and final goal as Marvin Morgan controlled it well in the box and flicked a Jon Taylor cross into the back of the net.


Mark Roberts returned to the side as captain and had Darius Charles and Ben Chorley partnering him in the centre of the defence – David Gray and Lee Hills provided the wing attacks with loan signing Gavin Mahon making his debut in the middle of the park at the expense of Anthony Grant. Mahon showed all the qualities that led to his recruitment with a gritty performance, some tough tackling and decent range of passing. Robin Shroot was the final change, in for Luke Freeman, in an attacking Boro side.


A cagey start to the game lacked any real quality from two sides who were almost embroiled in a game of chess, working each other out with every move, but on 20 minutes that was obliterated by a Dunne spectacular. Out of nowhere the midfielder pulled the ball down with his chest, on the edge of the box, before unleashing a fierce volley into the top corner of the goal – Chris Weale had no chance.


Marcus Haber could, and perhaps should have doubled that advantage within a couple of minutes of the opener. Lucas Akins danced down the wing and cut into the box before dinking the ball for the Canadian striker in the middle, he has so often this season shown his aerial dominance and heading ability in the box but this time missed the target.


Cue punishment. Shrewsbury levelled within 10 minutes and it was Parry with his second goal against the club this season. Way back in September he netted inside 5 minutes at the Lamex, in a game with a Boro comeback securing a point, this time he netted with a tidy finish.


In the second half Chris Porter was the next to miss a chance with a free header in the box, the tall striker missed the target much like Haber had earlier and Boro felt aggrieved when the chance to heap on punishment from the spot wasn’t given. Darren Jones looked certain to have clipped Steve Beleck in the box, the second half substitute went down under his challenge and breath was drawn by the home support expecting to see the condemnation of a point to the penalty spot. It didn’t come though, and play continued.

 


The game swung in the home side’s favour late on and Morgan stepped up with what proved to be the winner, which beat Day and nestled into the back of the net, it was a body blow but didn’t immediately knock Stevenage out – there was life in the side and a belief that they still had time to draw blood.


Another penalty shout went against Smith’s side – Mahon strode forward and was fouled, it was given, but an inch outside the area with some disagreeing about the location of the infringement. In a frantic finish Beleck hit an effort worthy of earning his side a point but Weale saved well whilst the home side counter-attacked well against a Boro side who were flooding forward.


In the end neither side were to get another, and the dejection on the Stevenage players’ faces was clear to see at the final whistle – passion in abundance, the side were clearly hurting, but they’ll get back to action on Tuesday night at Scunthorpe United looking to get back to winning ways.


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