REPORT: Port Vale 1-0 Stevenage
Boro bowed of the FA Cup at the First Round stage on Saturday, losing out 1-0 to League One Port Vale.
The team will be crestfallen to exit the competition at the first attempt as they had great opportunities late in the game to at least force a replay.
Darren Sarll named an unchanged starting XI from the win at Mansfield with Matt Godden returning to the squad after injury and getting a place on the bench.
The hosts had the first real opportunity of the game, Paterson swivelling on his shot from inside 18 yards but unable to keep the effort down. It didn’t take long for Boro to threaten Jak Alnwick’s goal though as McKirdy broke through the defensive line and hit the post, only to see the assistant’s flag rise.
Set-pieces were a real strength for Stevenage all afternoon as balls kept flying into the box and causing chaos for the Vale defenders. Delivery after delivery resulted in goal-line scrambles, just no finishing touch.
The home side went ahead on 37 minutes as Streete rose highest at the back-post for a simple finish. Too much time was allowed for the ball in and although it came somewhat against the run of play, Boro were yet to really click into full gear.
Darren Sarll rang a tactical change at the break with Tom Pett coming on for Dale Gorman and on 57 minutes he fired over from inside the area. A couple of minutes later another goalmouth scramble almost saw King level things up, a powerful shot from a few yards out blocked admirably.
Moments later, Kgosi Ntlhe beat his man out wide before finding Charlie Lee inside the box, his header on target but into the hands of Alnwick.
Balls continued to bombard the opposition’s area to no avail and there were claims for a penalty after the impressive Harry McKirdy rode a number of challenges inside the box, looking like he was being pulled down before getting his shot away.
Port Vale were threatening on the counter as Boro pushed forward but a combination of offsides given, good defending and poor decisions from the home side meant it stayed a one goal game.
As the match entered the final stages Boro upped the ante as they went in search of an equaliser. Pett worked his way into the area before firing over from a tight angle and deep in added time, Jack King was denied from point blank range.
There were two more golden opportunities to come as Matt Godden hit the post when through on goal before missing the target on the follow up.
Despite boos ringing out at the stadium, Port Vale held on for the win leaving Boro to wonder what if, as the FA Cup dream is over for another year.
Attendance: 3,093 (173)