Stevenage continued their recent unbeaten run with a 2-2 home draw against York today, but will rue a late penalty miss which would have secured another three points.
A thunderbolt from Eddie Nolan had given the Minstermen a 1-0 lead at the break but two goals in a matter of minutes from Chris Whelpdale and Charlie Lee turned the game in Boro’s favour in a lively second half. Luke Summerfield curled home an equaliser with 17 minutes remaining only for Stevenage to be awarded a penalty with 10 minutes remaining for a foul on sub Dipo Akinyemi. Fellow front man Brett Williams saw his effort saved superbly by Scott Flinders leaving Boro to settle for a point, despite late pressure.
Teddy Sheringham recalled Jesse Joronen to the starting XI for this game and also handed Jack Jebb a first start, with Tom Hitchcock remaining up top in front of Charlie Lee.
An uneventful opening few minutes saw both teams sizing each other up and it took until the 6th minute for a shot to be registered, as Whelpdale tested Flinders with a low effort.
Shooting towards the North Terrace into a strong sun was certainly causing some early problems to Boro’s attacking game with players from both sides struggling to pick the ball up from high balls. However with the ball at their feet Sheringham’s men were busy probing – Jebb, Pett and Whelpdale all looking lively and trying to find those killer balls through, but the York defence stood firm.
Luke Summerfield shot straight at Joronen from outside the box on the half-hour but the Finnish ‘keeper had no chance with the opening goal eight minutes later, as Eddie Nolan set his sights from 25-30 yards and blasted into the top corner. It was a great strike and handed the visitors the advantage at the break.
Straight from the restart there seemed a real determination in the home ranks and Boro came close to an equaliser just four minutes in, when Ogilvie won a corner and Charlie Lee headed Jebb’s delivery against the angle of crossbar and post.
However within seconds they were let off the hook massively as York blundered hugely on the counter. From that Lee chance, the visitors swarmed forward and had numbers in their favour. Left-back Ilesanmi had two to his left but inexplicably tried to go it alone and Joronen dived in to smother the loose ball, much to the disbelief of the York players in space and their fans.
Moments later they were to rue that miss as Boro drew level. Again it was Ogilvie menacing forward down the left and his deep cross left Flinders in no-man’s land and Whelpdale with the task of rising highest to head down into an empty net.
The Minstermen barely had time to recover before they found themselves 2-1 down. This time it came from a deep Jebb corner, headed back across goal by Wells, leaving an unmarked Lee to ram home a 54th minute header to spark scenes of jubilations around the ground.
Stevenage were rampant and nearly made it 3-1 just before the hour through Fraser Franks, but the defender headed straight at Flinders.
Both teams made double subs with just over 20 minutes remaining and both had an impact on the game. Emile Sinclair looked a handful up top for the visitors and Russ Penn brought experience to their midfield, whilst the front pairing of Williams and Akinyemi were to go on to cause problems for Stevenage.
James Berrett saw a low shot saved by Joronen as York press forward and with 17 minutes left pulled level once again – this time Luke Summerfield with a curling effort into the far corner after Boro were caught napping from a corner.
Pegged back, Boro pushed forward themselves and looked revitalised in the final stages. Jack Jebb volleyed straight at Flinders after good work by Williams before the hosts were handed a golden chance to retake the lead with 80 minutes on the clock.
Akinyemi raced into the area and was caught by a trailing foot, giving the referee little option but to point to the spot. However after a delay for treatment to a York player – one of a number in the closing stages – Brett Williams saw his effort superbly turned behind by Flinders, who was then on hand to smother Whelpdale’s cross on the rebound.
Even as time ticked on, the chances came and went for both sides. Dean Wells had to show great pace and timing to keep up with Sinclair on the counter, before sliding in to concede a corner. Then Tom Conlon rattled the bar with a superb curling 89th minute free-kick and Akinyemi blazed over after working a chance and ignoring the incoming cavalry.
A point continues the recent unbeaten run ahead of two consecutive derby away days to Barnet and Cambridge in the coming weeks.
Stevenage: Joronen, Franks, Wells, Hughes, Ogilvie, Smith, Jebb (Conlon 80), Whelpdale, Lee (Akinyemi 77), Pett, Hitchcock (Williams 70)
Subs not used: Day, McCombe, Henry, Conlon, Gorman, Akinyemi
York City: Flinder, Ilesanmi, McCoy (Penn 67), Berrett, Nolan, Summerfield, Oliver, Lowe, Winfield, Thompson (Carson 77), Tutonda (Sinclair 67)
Subs not used: Ingham, McCombe, Penn, Carson, Rzonca, Godfrey, Sinclair
Referee: Brendan Malone
Attendance: 3,319 (316 away)