Late penalty denied Boro win
Stevenage extended their unbeaten run to six but had to settle for a point after a late penalty denied them a win at home to Accrington Stanley this afternoon.
A goal from Armand Gnanduillet inside the first minute put Boro ahead and the hosts went on to enjoy the majority of the game. However they were unable to find a killer second, which proved vital as Billy Kee fired Stanley level from the spot after a Chris Whelpdale handball with seven minutes remaining.
Manager Teddy Sheringham made two enforced changes to his starting XI with both Mark Hughes and Armand Gnanduillet coming in for the injured Dean Wells and Jamille Matt.
With Stevenage looking to extend their unbeaten run to six games they got off to the perfect start with a goal inside the first minute. Chris Whelpdale saw his shot parried by Jason Mooney but there was Armand Gnanduillet in the right place at the right time to steer the ball home with just 45 seconds on the clock.
Buoyed with that early lead Boro pushed forward with Gnanduillet twice being denied by Mooney before the 10 minute mark.
It was all Stevenage and it wasn’t until the 18th minute mark that Accrington created their first chance. A ball through the defence found Josh Windass in on goal, but there was Chris Day with a fine save to deny him.
Still Boro continued to impress with Cox and Tonge keeping things ticking over in midfield and Pett, Whelpdale and McFadzean looking to make things happen.
On 26 minutes Bradley Halliday was allowed to run into the box and cross for Billy Kee to tap home but the assistant referee’s flag denied the visitors and halted celebrations from the travelling support.
As the half progressed the visitors began to slowly get into the game but whatever they tried to do there was a Boro head, tackle or flick there to deny them. All that was lacking at the other end was that all-important second strike as Stevenage went in 1-0 up.
The second half went in much the same way as the first with Sheringham’s men setting a good tempo and most of the play coming in the Accrington half of the pitch.
However still that second goal eluded them with McFadzean seeing one effort win a corner, Gnanduillet forcing another great save from Mooney on the counter 56 minutes in and Pett blazing over after excellent footwork by Cox setup another break with 20 minutes remaining.
Accrington weren’t out of this game though and gave Boro several reminders of their threat as they looked to improve on an already impressive away record. The dangerous Kee curled just wide of the far post on 67 minutes, Chris Day came to Stevenage’s rescue five minutes later with a low save after hesistant defending let the visitors in and then sub Seamus McCarten was allowed time and space to dribble into the box but he could only find the side netting.
Still Stevenage continued to plug away, however with seven minutes remaining Accrington were handed a penalty, literally speaking, when an innocuous cross from the right hit Whelpdale’s hand. Up-stepped Kee to send Day the wrong way and level the scores.
Both sides pushed for a winner as the clock ticked down but neither could find that all-important side as both defences hung on through four minutes of added time.
Stevenage: Day, Henry, Hughes, McCombe, Okimo, Tonge, Cox, Whelpdale, Pett, McFadzean (Gorman 68), Gnanduillet
Subs not used: Crowe, Gordon, Akinyemi, Lee, Johnson, Conlon
Accrington: Mooney, Pearson, Davies, Mingoia, Windass (McCarten 75), McConville, Crooks, Wright, Conneely, Kee, Halliday (Gornell 62)
Subs not used: Etheridge, Barry, Procter, Wakefield, Buxton
Referee: Darren England
Attendance: 2,818 (79 away)