Stevenage fell to a late 1-0 defeat to Carlisle at The Lamex Stadium this afternoon in Sky Bet League 2.
Tom Miller’s 82nd minute goal was enough for the Cumbrians to take all three points in a hard fought game which Boro – much improved from Tuesday night - should have been ahead in, but for Brett Williams’ penalty miss before the break.
Teddy Sheringham made five changes from the side that lost in midweek. Dean Parrett, Dean Wells and Connor Ogilvie were all recalled to the starting XI, Ben Kennedy was handed his first start and there was a debut for Norwich loanee Jamar Loza up top.
Both sides took time to settle in this one and it took until the 13th minute for the first chance of the game. The pacey Derek Asamoah wriggled through the defence and set-up Alex McQueen but Joronen was there to save his low shot.
Jamar Loza was looking lively up top for Boro on his debut and some good interplay with Kennedy four minutes later nearly created a chance but the attacking duo were crowded out. The Jamaican international would continue to harass the Carlisle defence and look Boro’s best attacking threat until his substitution just past the hour.
On 23 minutes Ben Kennedy found Tom Conlon on the counter and the midfielder twisted his defender inside out before forcing Gillespie into a fine save low down.
The pint-sized Asamoah then blazed over with one opportunity and headed another over as Carlisle remained threatening on the counter on two occasions either side of the half hour mark.
Conlon volleyed over from distance and Loza turned and shot straight at Gillespie as Boro built up momentum before the break, before they were handed a golden opportunity to take the lead on 41 minutes. Quick thinking by Ogilvie saw the left-back throw to Brett Williams in space and the big striker ran into the box before being hauled over. After dusting himself down Williams opted for power, but his effort straight down the middle was saved by Mark Gillespie.
Despite that set-back Boro began the second half brightly with Conlon heading over with less than a minute gone and Loza forcing Gillespie into a fine save with a fiercely struck shot six minutes later.
Chris Whelpdale replaced the Norwich loanee just past the hour, allowing Kennedy to move more central position but still the chances evaded both sides.
Jason Kennedy blazed over for Carlisle after a loose pass from Whelpdale set the visitors on another counter as the game looked to be heading towards a goalless outcome, despite both sides working hard.
However the breakthrough finally came with eight minutes remaining, but in Carlisle’s favour. After Jason Kennedy won a corner with a deflected shot, defender Tom Miller was on hand to fire home Danny Grainger’s corner to put the Cumbrians ahead.
Jamie McCombe replaced Dean Parrett as the big defender went up top to add to Boro’s attack and give Carlisle something else to think about in the closing stages. Whelpdale fired wide after a driving run as the game entered five minutes of injury time which Carlisle saw out comfortably to record all three points.
Next up for Stevenage is Dagenham & Redbridge in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy second round on Wednesday night. Tickets cost just £5 in advance and can be purchased from www.borotickets.co.uk.
Stevenage: Joronen, Henry, Wells, Hughes, Ogilvie, Schumacher, Parrett (McCombe 85), Kennedy, Loza (Whelpdale 64), Conlon, Williams (Akinyemi 74)
Subs not used: Day, Franks, Jebb, Hitchcock
Carlisle: Gillespie, Miller, Grainger, Joyce, Raynes, Kennedy, Sweeney (Gilliead 60), Dicker (Archibald-Henville 65), Asamoah, Gillesphey, McQueen (Henry 83)
Subs not used: Hanford, Atkinson, Rigg, Thompson
Referee: Andy Davies
Attendance: 2,999 (352 away)