Opening day defeat for Stevenage...
Stevenage’s start to the 2015/16 campaign got off to a losing start as Notts County won 2-0 at The Lamex Stadium this afternoon.
A goal in each half from Curtis Thompson and Mawouna Amevor did the damage for the visitors against a Stevenage side who created chances on the day, but just couldn’t find the back of the net. A late red card for loan signing Tom Hitchcock further compounded Boro’s misery.
Teddy Sheringham handed competitive Stevenage debuts to Fraser Franks, Mark Hughes, Steven Schumacher, Brett Williams and Dipo Akinyemi. With Ronnie Henry absent through illness, Franks lined up at full-back with Tom Conlon also involved from the start.
After an event start in noisy conditions at The Lamex it was County applying the pressure, winning a number of corners and putting some dangerous deliveries into the box, but Boro rode the early examinations.
Charlie Lee almost slid Akinyemi in on goal on the quarter hour and then the youngster should have struck first blood moments later, side-footing wide from yards out after a Parrett corner to the front page fell to him.
Brett Williams was putting himself about up top and one driving run nearly caused embarrassment for Roy Carroll, who came miles out of his goal but fortunately saw the ball deflect off him and behind for a Boro corner. Just past the 30 minute mark Williams found himself with some rare space in the box but saw Carroll save his initial shot and the ball was hacked behind.
However from the resulting corner County won possession and broke at pace to devastating effect. A superb ball by Noble in the middle found Stead in space on the right and his whipped across behind the recovering defence was perfect for the inrushing Curtis Thompson to tap home at the back-post. 1-0 County.
Boro’s response was positive, winning a handful of corners but none of them saw any clear chances created and despite further late pressure in the half the hosts went into the break a goal down.
Chris Day came to Boro’s rescue moments into the second half when another driving run from midfield by Noble saw Jenner played through, but there was the veteran ‘keeper to beat the ball behind at his near post.
The hard-working Akinyemi saw a shot deflect behind moments later as the end-to-end nature of the game continued, leading to further consecutive corners for Boro but still no clear cut chances.
Instead it was County again looking the more likely to score. Day again came to Boro’s rescue when he blocked De Silva’s first time shot with his legs, with the ‘keeper later saving a powerful header from Audel.
New loan signing Tom Hitchcock and Dave McAllister were introduced on the hour, for Akinyemi and Schumacher, but moments later it was almost 2-0 when Stead turned Hughes on the edge of the box and saw a whipped effort fly wide with the aid of a deflection.
Back at the other end, good pressure by Boro finally saw men in and around Williams just inside the box. When Lee tried to weave his way through the defence the ball fell to the striker, who managed a good effort on goal but straight at Carroll.
A Parrett corner just evaded Hughes, Hitchcock flicked over the ball from a Franks knockdown and the youngster again saw Carroll deny him as the hosts laid siege in the closing 10 minutes. However it was to be the visitors who wrapped up all three points with just three minutes remaining. Day again produced a fine one-handed stop to deny another curling effort from Stead but there was Amevor to fire home the loose ball in front of the packed Notts County end.
Five minutes of added time saw late straight red cards for Amevor and Tom Hitchcock for an off-the-ball incident, further spoiling Boro’s afternoon.
Next up for Stevenage is Tuesday’s Capital One Cup game at Ipswich Town, followed by consecutive away games at Newport and Leyton Orient. Home form hasn't started well but Boro will be hoping for more positive performances on the road in the coming weeks.
Stevenage: Day, Franks, Hughes, Wells, Okimo, Schumacher (McAllister 60), Lee, Parrett, Conlon (Pett 75), Akinyemi (Hitchcock 60), Williams
Subs not used: Jackson McCombe, Johnson, Gorman
County: Carroll, Amevor, Thompson, Noble, De Silva (Snijders 66), Jenner, Swerts, Stead, Audel, Sprockel (Bennett 46), Aborah
Subs not used: Loach, Hollis, Spencer, Campbell, Burke
Referee: Graham Salisbury