Stevenage completed their home pre-season preparations with an encouraging 2-1 victory over Coventry City this afternoon.
After a goalless first half the game burst into life after the break with Boro awarded – and converting – two penalties through Simon Walton and Roarie Deacon. Marcus Tudgay pulled one back for the League 1 side with 20 minutes remaining but Boro stood firm and recorded a win just a week before the start of the new league season.
Team news saw two change from the midweek goalless draw against Reading, with Whelpdale and Worley come in for Walton and Deacon, both of whom were amongst the subs.
Andy Bond and Conor Thomas traded chances as both sides looked to seize the early initiative in an otherwise cagey first 10 minutes, however it wasn’t long before Boro began to create further chances in a workmanlike opening half.
Excellent wing play by Chris Whelpdale just past the quarter hour saw the former Gillingham man beat his defender with a lovely flick before putting in a great cross which Marriott could only nod wide.
Marcus Tudgay fired a low effort wide and Coventry won themselves a number of free-kicks as the half progressed but on each occasion Boro’s defence stood firm with Wells, Worley and Dembele repelling anything that came their way.
Adam Marriott has impressed many during pre-season and the summer signing continued to look lively up top for Boro. For a man of his diminutive stature he did brilliantly approaching the half hour to hold off two much more physical defenders in the corner, before winning his side a free-kick.
The hosts went close moments later when Charlie Lee curled another free-kick over the wall, but Burge was there to scamper across his line and save.
Roarie Deacon, Simon Walton and Jon Ashton came on at half-time and it wasn’t too long before the first two found themselves on the scoresheet. Burge was again called into action on 56 minutes, palming Lee’s stinging effort over but the ‘keeper was finally beaten minutes later when Walton stroked home a penalty for Boro after a foul on Deacon following good work by another sub, trialist Conor Calcutt.
1-0 became 2-0 five minutes later when the hosts were awarded a second spot kick. This time it was Marriott sent sprawling in the box after a hefty challenge and up-stepped Deacon to lash home his penalty with confidence.
Coventry pulled one back with 19 minutes remaining when Devon Kelly Evans was given time to cross for Tudgay to slot home with a neat finish. However bar a Thomas shot wide there was little threat from the visitors as Boro defended well, with Wells particularly impressive.
Whelpdale, Lee and Walton all went close for Stevenage in the closing stages as Graham Westley’s men kept up the pressure on their higher league opponents by forcing a number of late corners, but Boro couldn’t find a killer third that their overall display had perhaps deserved.
A win – and maybe more importantly no obvious injuries - just seven days before the start of the new season will give Stevenage a boost of confidence ahead of next week’s opener against Hartlepool United here at home. They now need your support to roar them on as they look to recreate the fortress-like mentality that The Lamex Stadium has previously been known for.
Stevenage: Beasant, Whelpdale, Worley (Calcutt 56), Wells, Dembele (Ashton 46), A Trialist, Lee, Bond (Walton 46), Pett, Marriott, Charles (Deacon 46)
Subs not used: Day, Johnson, Okenabirhie, Trialist, Trialist