Stevenage marched into Round 3 of the FA Youth Cup with a 2-0 win over Charlton Athletic tonight at The Lamex Stadium.
Second half goals from Mark McKee and Michael Cregan won the game for Boro who dominated large parts of this game and could have scored more against their higher Academy Category opponents.
Robbie O’Keefe’s youngsters came out of the blocks with real purpose and had two chances to go ahead within the opening 10 minutes, but Michael Cregan fired over and Liam Brady shot straight at the ‘keeper from 20 yards.
Claudio Ofosu, who scored twice in the first round win at Ware, just couldn’t latch onto a neat Brady pass moments later as Stevenage continued to press and dominate against a team second in their respective Academy division.
With 22 minutes on the clock Cregan was played in and the diminutive striker raced towards goal and tried to lift the ball over the advancing ‘keeper, but Maynard-Brewer spread himself well and blocked to deny Boro.
Charlton eventually came into the game as the first half progressed and Dimitrios Kyriatzis had to be alert to product two fine saves at the other end, first getting down smartly to turn a low flick round his post and then secondly coming out to beat an opponent to the ball just inside his box.
With various first team players and staff present in the crowd, Boro continued to push for the opener but it remained goalless at the break.
Four minutes into the second half Kyriatzis made the save of the game as Charlton nearly broke the deadlock. A corner was swung in from the right, a bullet header came in but the Brentford loanee stuck out a hand and superbly kept the ball out.
The tricky Andronicos Georgiou had been relatively well marshalled in the first 45, but began to find space in the second and fired two efforts over in quick succession as Stevenage continued to knock on the Addicks door.
However Mark McKee finally got the breakthrough on 61 minutes. Much of the credit goes to right-back Macsen Fraser who made a powerful run forward into the Charlton half, before cutting inside and finding McKee on the left. The Northern Ireland Under-19 international turned back onto his favoured right foot and fired a low shot into the bottom corner for 1-0.
Two minutes later great footwork by McKee saw him evade several challenges and release Ofosu, who won a corner from which Boro would double their advantage. Brady’s corner wasn’t dealt with properly and in the ensuing scramble it was poacher Cregan who smashed the ball into the roof of the net for 2-0.
Stevenage saw out the rest of the game with relative ease, continuing to probe the Charlton backline for more opportunities. The visitors did rally in the closing minutes and Kyriatzis had to make another good low save to deny a late consolation, but
Boro stood firm to book a third round date away at Spurs, likely to be played at The Lamex Stadium.
Stevenage: Kyriatzis, Fraser, Wilmot, Omar, O’Keefe, Georgiou (Taylor 89), Brady (Etheridge 74), Guerfi, McKee, Ofosu (Dowridge 82), Cregan
Subs not used: Harness, Croud
Charlton Athletic: Maynard-Brewer, Bangura, Zemura, Dempsey, Yao (Nwosu 48), Simpson, Maloney, Morgan (Gody 76), Willis, Isiaka (Abraham 64), Doughty
Subs not used: Prall, Birch
Referee: Christopher Francis