Goals from Wells, Pett and Marriott secure opening win
Stevenage began their pre-season campaign with a comfortable 3-0 win at Arlesey Town this evening.
First half goals from Dean Wells, Tom Pett and Adam Marriott did the damage as a strong Stevenage outfit bossed proceedings in the opening 45 minutes. A new XI appeared for the second half at the Armadillo Stadium, comprising some Boro youngsters and trialists, but despite their efforts they were unable to add to the scoreline in a much more even half.
Graham Westley handed starts to eight of his summer arrivals with Sam Beasant, Ronnie Henry, Dean Wells, Harry Worley, Andy Bond, Simon Walton, Tom Pett and Adam Marriott joining Bira Dembele, Roarie Deacon and Darius Charles.
Five trialists were named among a youthful bench, with Calvin Zola and Chris Whelpdale sitting this one out.
After an even opening period it was Boro who took the lead on nine minutes. The visitors won a corner thanks to some Pett trickery and when the resulting delivery found Wells, his looping header evaded both the goalkeeper and Dembele to nestle in the back of the net.
Pett and Marriott were looking particularly lively and energetic and it was no surprise when the former doubled Stevenage’s lead on 20 minutes. A throw from Henry was neatly flicked by Marriott into the path of Pett, who advanced before finding the bottom corner.
Wells nearly scored a carbon copy of his goal with 25 minutes on the clock, but this time the keeper tipped his header over.
Stevenage managed to keep their hosts quiet for much of the half with a professional display, but even when Arlesey did come forward they were met by a solid defence. From one free-kick it was particularly noticeable how Wells, Walton and Henry were all bellowing instructions at their team-mates, showing strong leadership qualities even at this early stage of the campaign.
However bang on 30 minutes it was Boro who scored their third, with their latest new signing netting on his debut. Henry advanced down the right and played in a high diagonal into the box for Charles to nod down for Adam Marriott to fire home.
Deacon and Dembele went close with further efforts as Stevenage kept up the pressure, but at the break they held a comfortable 3-0 lead.
A new Stevenage XI began the second half with Day, Ashton, Johnson, Gordon, N’Guessan and Okenabirhie joined by five trialists.
With a number of substitutions from Arlesey it led to a much more stop-start half although Stevenage continued to create the best of the chances.
On two separate occasions Okenabirhie went close twice in a matter of seconds with a combination of goalkeeper, defender and crossbar denying him on all four occasions. N’Guessan was also looking particularly bright, setting up a chance for one of the trialists who headed powerfully wide.
Day was a virtual spectator during his 45 minutes between the sticks, with only a couple of free-kicks over his bar giving cause for concern. Meanwhile Johnson and Ashton were able to deal with everything in front of them with relative ease.
A 3-0 win represents an encouraging start to pre-season but sterner tests lie ahead, starting with the visit of Premier League giants West Ham on Saturday afternoon at The Lamex Stadium.
Stevenage first half: Sam Beasant, Ronnie Henry, Harry Worley, Dean Wells, Bira Dembele, Tom Pett, Simon Walton, Andy Bond, Roarie Deacon, Adam Marriott, Darius Charles
Stevenage second half: Chris Day, trialist, Jon Ashton, Ryan Johnson, trialist, Jo N’Guessan, Rohdell Gordon, trialist, trialist, Okenabirhie, trialist