Football returned to The Lamex Stadium for the first time in 2015/15 this evening with Championship side Nottingham Forest providing Stevenage with a stern test in a 3-0 defeat.
First half goals from Matt Mills and Henri Lansbury gave Forest a comfortable advantage and although Boro improved as the game went on, Jack Hobbs scored a third late on.
Teddy Sheringham named new signing Fraser Franks in his starting XI with the former Luton man partnering Mark Hughes in central defence. Dave McAllister and Charlie Lee sat in midfield with Pett, Parrett and Dipo Akinyemi behind Brett Williams.
Straight from kick-off Forest were keen to assert their dominance and only the offside flag denied Michael Antonio after the winger lifted the ball past day within a minute, with Day also being tested within another 60 seconds.
With six minutes on the clock Brett Williams ran through the heart of the Forest defence, held the ball up and laid it back for Dave McAllister who could only blast over.
Day saved from Antonio twice more and Robert Tesche as the Boro goal continued to be peppered, but the resistance was broken with 13 minutes on the clock. From a corner won by Antonio – who else – the ball wasn’t cleared properly and Matt Mills improvised with a finish which bounced past Day.
A goal down, Stevenage perked up and created their best effort on 16 minutes when Lee found Henry on the right. The full-back drove down the flank and whipped in a cross which Williams met with a flying header that went over.
Pett also went close to creating something with some good footwork however the Championship side doubled their advantage just prior to the 20 minute mark. Antonio again was the creator, turning in midfield and advancing into the box before drawing a rash challenge from the enthusiastic Akinyemi and earning a penalty. Up stepped Henri Lansbury to smash home the spot-kick, despite Day getting a hand to it.
Two goals to the good the attacking momentum stayed with Forest who continued to create chances. Nicky Maynard weaved his way into the box and saw a low shot saved by Day’s legs, Eric Lichaj shot wide after an Akinyemi slip and another Antonio half-chance fell kindly for Day as the Boro goal continued to lead a charmed life.
Despite conceding that penalty Dipo Akinyemi was enjoying some nice spells and one piece of nice interplay with McAllister saw the youngster go for goal, with De Vries only just scrambling back to prevent a curled effort finding the top corner.
Fraser Franks poked wide from a Parrett free-kick and Henri Lansbury smacked over as the two teams traded chances before half time.
With the two teams unchanged at the break, Boro began brightly and Charlie Lee smashed wide moments in after a good touch by Parrett found him in space.
Whilst the second half lacked much in the way of goal mouth action there was certainly more shape and a better intensity about Boro as they looked to take the game to Forest.
Parrett saw a free-kick deflect over for a corner and Day saved from Danny Fox in rare chances, with a whole host of substitutions in the final 25 minutes allowing opportunities for a number of trialists and Boro youngsters, whilst breaking the flow of the game.
To their credit the subs performed well in parts and nearly pulled a goal back when a trialist shot from close range, only for De Vries to push the ball over.
With moments remaining Jack Hobbs scored a third for Forest with a lovely take and finish to seal the victory for the Championship outfit, who will no doubt be pleased with their efforts on the night.
Stevenage depart tomorrow on their training camp in Seville, where Sheringham and his coaching staff will be keen to continue working with their squad ahead of the visit of Millwall back here at The Lamex on Saturday 25th July. Tickets for that game can be purchased at www.borotickets.co.uk.
Stevenage: Day (Trialist 68), Henry (Casey 65), Franks (Johnson 58), Hughes (Smyth 73), Okimo (Yamfam 80), Lee (Gorman 65), McAllister (Conlon 65), Parrett (Kerr 73), Pett (Sweeney 80), Williams (Trialist 65), Akinyemi (Trialist 80)
Nottingham Forest: De Vries, Lichaj, Mancienne (Riera 89), Mills (Vaughan 73), Tesche (Osborn 83), Lansbury (Grant 87), Fox (McLaughlin 89), Antonio (Paterson 49), Maynard (Taylor 79), Hobbs, Ward (Burke 66)
Subs not used: Evitmov
Referee: Andy Woolmer