A Stevenage XI battled hard to earn a late draw at Maldon & Tiptree last night in the final pre-season friendly of the summer.
George Casey, Ryan Johnson, Tom Conlon and Dave McAllister featured alongside a number of trialists and the makeshift Boro side fell behind from close range after six minutes as their energetic hosts burst out of the traps.
Both ‘keepers were called into action in the first half despite chances being few and far between on a blustery evening in Essex, although Boro should have drawn level right on half-time when a trialist striker headed straight at the ‘keeper from just yards out.
Conlon and McAllister were withdrawn at half-time ahead of the weekend’s Sky Bet League 2 opener against Notts County but Boro improved as the game went on and fitness levels began to show. Substitutions galore by both sides broke up the rhythm of the game but Stevenage spent most of the second 45 in the Maldon half, looking to break down a stubborn and well-marshalled defence.
The final 10 minutes saw a number of chances come and go for Boro, with the trialist striker again in the thick of the action, shooting wide from 15 yards and then forcing the best save of the night from the Maldon goalkeeper. Nathan Kerr also curled just wide when found in space on the edge of the area.
The Ryman League side's resilience was finally broken in the third minute of injury time when a young trialist beat the offside trap to meet a cross into the box and finish well, to earn Boro a deserved draw on the night.
Stevenage XI: Trialist A (Trialist K 75), Casey (Trialist L 75), Trialist B, Johnson, Trialist C, McAllister (Kerr 46), Trialist D (Trialist I 60), Conlon (Trialist H 46), Trialist E (Yamfam 60), Trialist F (Trialist J), Trialist G
This Saturday sees Boro get their Sky Bet League 2 campaign underway with a home game against Notts County in Teddy Sheringham's first official home match in charge.
In advance tickets for this game range from £3 for Under-12s on the terraces up to £20 for adults in the seats. Book now at www.borotickets.co.uk.