MATCH REPORT: MORECAMBE 0, STEVENAGE 2
Stevenage recorded their first away win of the league season with an excellent 2-0 win at Morecambe this afternoon.
Matty Godden’s 35th minute header was added to in the second half by Ben Kennedy’s superb curling effort from distance as Boro outfought and outclassed their hosts with a fine performance. Even a late penalty for Morecambe couldn’t deny Boro a clean sheet as Paul Mullin crashed his spot-kick against the post.
Darren Sarll made three changes from last weekend’s defeat with Ben Kennedy, Dale Gorman and Luke Wilkinson coming in for Andrew Fox, Tom Pett and Dean Wells, the latter of whom missed out through injury.
Stevenage started the game brightly and earned a couple of early corners, from which they carved out the first sight on goal when Wilkinson saw a powerful shot blocked in a crowded area.
At the other end Morecambe took time to get going and it took a 13th minute block from Wilkinson to deny Barkhuizen a shot on goal.
Two minutes later a Barry Roche goal-kick skimmed off Kgosi Ntlhe ‘s head which allowed Cole Stockton to run through. He went for goal but could only fire wide of Jones’ goal.
The hosts were enjoying their best period of the game and when Lee Molyneux hit the bar following a scramble in the box, Boro just about scrambled the ball cleared.
Straight from that, good play by Stevenage saw Gorman find Henry racing down the right and he played the ball in for Kennedy. The striker’s loose first touch invited a challenge but he headed the ball forward, only to be clattered. The referee waved away free-kick appeals.
With 10 minutes to go before the break, Boro broke the deadlock. Henry found Gorman down the right and the Northern Irish Under-21 international delivered the perfect cross for Matt Godden to head down and into the back of the net.
Stevenage nearly doubled their lead right on half-time when a throw-in from Henry found Kennedy. He turned and fired in a first-time shot from 20 yards which flew just wide with Roche motionless.
There was still time for another chance for Darren Sarll’s men when a Boro counter saw Godden send Kennedy through, midway through the Morecambe half. However winger Tom Barkhuizen got back to concede the corner and deny Kennedy a clear effort on goal.
Stevenage started the second half as they’d left off, with another assault on the Morecambe goal. A cross from the right wasn’t dealt with by the hosts but Cowans could only head the ball over at the back post.
With 50 minutes on the clock more good approach play by Boro saw them carve out another chance. A great ball down the left by Cowans found Godden, who raced into the box, looked up and found King in acres of space 25 yards out. He controlled the ball then fired a fierce shot at goal which Roche blocked, before winning a free-kick from the challenging Godden and Cowans.
Cole Stockton turned and fired over the bar from 18 yards two minutes later, before Cowans nodded just wide at the other end when King spotted the Aston Villa loanee’s run into the box.
Stevenage finally doubled their lead on 56 minutes and in some style. More good interplay up top for Boro saw Ben Kennedy find space 25 yards out and he fired a curling effort into the far top corner for a spectacular strike.
Fraser Franks saw a flicked header in the Morecambe box scrambled away and Charlie Lee fired wide as Boro kept up their attacking momentum, with Lee then forcing Roche into the save of the game with a bullet header that the ‘keeper turned over from Cowans’ cross.
Morecambe threatened little as Boro continued to dominate all over the pitch, although Jamie Jones had to save smartly twice in a matter of seconds as the hosts carved out a rare chance.
Darren Sarll threw on Rowan Liburd and Jake Hyde for the final seven minutes and the latter twice went close as Boro’s strikeforce kept up the pressure on the home defence.
With four minutes remaining Morecambe were handed a lifeline when Charlie Lee was penalised for handball just inside the box. Up stepped Paul Mullin but he smashed his shot against the post as Boro survived.
Jamie Jones ensured a clean sheet for Stevenage with a fine save of his own to deny Ellison a late consolation but in truth victory never looked in doubt as Boro secured a massive three points.
Morecambe: Roche, Whitmore, Edwards, Wakefield, Jennings (Conlan 60), Fleming, Rose (Murphy 75), Barkhuizen, Molyneux (Mullin 60), Ellison, Stockton
Subs not used: Nizic, McGowan, Massanka, Yawson
Stevenage: Jones, Henry, Wilkinson, Franks, Ntlhe, Lee, Gorman, King, Cowans, Kennedy (Hyde 83), Godden (Liburd 83)
Subs not used: Day, Fox, Schumacher, Pett, Tonge
Referee: Richard Clark
Attendance: 1,212 (77 away)