REPORT: STEVENAGE 0, BLACKPOOL 2
Stevenage fell to a 2-0 home defeat to Blackpool this afternoon in Sky Bet League 2.
Despite dominating large chunks of the game and forcing visiting ‘keeper Sam Slocombe into a number of fine saves, it was the visitors who struck twice in the final 13 minutes to take the win.
Darren Sarll made two enforced changes from Tuesday night’s win at Newport with both Chris Day and Charlie Lee coming in for the injured Jamie Jones and Ben Kennedy. There was also a place among the subs for top scorer Matt Godden.
With the rain coming down at The Lamex it took a while for the two teams to feel their way into the game but it was Boro who created the first chance on nine minutes. Fresh from his goal in midweek, Tom Pett was looking bright and his touch took out two defenders, before he saw a low shot turned around the post by Slocombe.
Two minutes later the ‘keeper was forced to work again, this time palming a McKirdy volley at the back post wide after a free-kick was headed across goal.
Brad Potts blasted over from 18 yards with 20 minutes on the clock in a rare chance for the visitors, but soon it was Boro back on the attack creating opportunities and causing more concern for Slocombe.
First the ‘keeper was nearly caught out by the bounce from a long Schumacher pass, before recovering acrobatically and then a Fraser Franks cross nearly caught him out too, but dropped just wide.
Jamille Matt was a relatively quiet figure on his return to The Lamex but then went close twice in the run-up to half –time. First he poked a right-wing cross from Mellor wide at the near post, before heading wide in the single minute of additional time.
Stevenage continued to ask most of the questions at the start of the second half but Ronnie Henry had to be alert to dispossess the pacey Vassell on 57 minutes, as Blackpool threatened to counter from a Boro corner.
Matt Godden came on the final 30 minutes, replacing the tiring McKirdy who had worked tirelessly all afternoon.
After going close in the opening 45, Brad Potts had two more chances to open the scoring just past the hour. First he dragged a shot wide under pressure, then he headed wide from a good position after a slip from Pett out wide, as chances came and went for the Seasiders.
Pett played a lovely ball across the box that missed everyone and Fraser Franks saw a long-range piledriver turned away by Slocombe as Boro continued to threaten, only for Blackpool to hit the hosts with a sucker-punch with 13 minutes remaining, when sub Bright Osayi-Samuel curled home into the bottom corner from 18 yards.
That goal seemed to knock Stevenage and when Wells slipped in the wet conditions looking to intercept a ball forward with five minutes remaining, it played sub Mark Cullen in who buried a second past Chris Day.
Luke Wilkinson headed over as four minutes of injury time were signalled, but Blackpool saw out the game to secure the three points.
Next up for Darren Sarll’s men is a derby trip to Barnet next weekend where they’ll be looking for a sixth straight win on the road. The next chance to improve the home form comes on Boxing Day against Cambridge United. Tickets for all of these games can be purchased now at www.borotickets.co.uk.
Stevenage: Day, Henry, Wilkinson, Wells, Franks, Pett, King, Schumacher, Cowans (McAnuff 78), Lee (Liburd 73), McKirdy (Godden 60)
Subs not used: Preston, Gorman, Tonge, Kerr
Blackpool: Slocombe, Mellor, Taylor, Robertson, Vassell (McAllister 90), Potts, Aldred, Philliskirk (Osayi-Samuel 70), Matt (Cullen 62), Pugh, Payne
Subs not used: Lyness, Aimson, Nolan, Yeates
Referee: John Brooks
Attendance: 2,513 (424 away)