MATCH REPORT: STEVENAGE 2, CRAWLEY TOWN 1
Stevenage secured their third home league win on the bounce as goals from Tyler Walker and Jack King saw Boro beat Crawley Town 2-1 this afternoon.
An open game saw chances for both sides but it was loanee Walker who gave Darren Sarll’s men a half-time lead with a fine low finish. Jack King’s low curler from the edge of the box doubled the hosts’ advantage in the second half and it looked like being a comfortable afternoon, only for James Collins’ late header to set up a nervy finish.
Boro initially made just the one change from last weekend’s thumping win over Hartlepool with Luke Wilkinson replacing Dean Wells. However a knock for Ronnie Henry in the warm-up meant Charlie Lee stepped up from the bench and 19th man Nathan Kerr took his place among the subs.
Tyler Andrew struck twice last Saturday and nearly got Stevenage off to a flyer on seven minutes but his header looped onto the bar and over.
Strike partner Matty Godden smashed the ball into the back of the net just past the 10 minute mark from Jack King’s delicate ball over the top but was adjudged inches offside and play was pulled back.
The midfielder then went close with a first-time shot when Andrew found him with a neat pass, but the ball flew wide.
If King was impressing in the middle of the park then Tom Pett was again catching the eye out wide and on a number of occasions was cutting inside and delivering some great balls with his left foot. One fine cross on the half-hour saw King leap high and hit the crossbar with a fine header, with Walker’s follow-up shot also blocked.
Stevenage were looking bright going forward but Crawley also looked dangerous on the counter, with one fine block from Franks denying Banton from point blank range.
As the clock ticked down towards half-time, Boro struck and it was that man Walker again. The Forest loanee was picked out by an Andrew Fox pass and he fired a low effort into the bottom corner for 1-0. A fine strike.
A goal down at the break, Crawley came out fighting and former Boro man Jimmy Smith went close on 47 minutes when a late run saw him latch onto a clipped ball over the top, but he fired over.
Soon enough though the hosts were creating chances and although Godden volleyed over and Ntlhe dragged a shot wide in quick succession, Boro soon doubled their advantage on 55 minutes.
An attack down the left saw a decent ball in and when the ball fell into Jack King’s path, 20 yards out centrally, he produced a measured curling finish into the bottom corner for 2-0.
Godden again went close three minutes later when he raced onto a through-ball but fired wide under pressure and Luke Wilkinson then stung Mitchell Beeney’s hands with a thunderbolt of a shot from fully 30 yards, with King then heading the loose ball straight at the ‘keeper.
Boro were enjoying themselves with some neat play in midfield and decisive balls behind the Town defence being matched with some resolute defending at the other end.
Crawley did look bright in patches, particularly through their subs, but it was a familiar foe who gave them a lifeline with five minutes remaining, when James Collins nodded home Lewis Young’s cross from close range.
That set-up a nervy closing few minutes around The Lamex Stadium and the same player thought he levelled with a volley moments later, but referee Kettle had already signalled for a foul.
However Boro saw out four minutes of injury time to record their third home league win on the bounce and climb to 12th in Sky Bet League 2 ahead of a trip next weekend to 22nd placed Wycombe.
Stevenage: Jones, Lee, Franks, Wilkinson, Ntlhe, Pett, Tonge, King, Fox, Godden (Cowans 90), Tyler (Liburd 75)
Subs not used: Day, McAnuff, Kennedy, Hunte, Kerr
Crawley: Beeney, Young, Arthur (Blackman 51), Payne, Connolly, Boldewijn (Yussuf 58), Smith, Banton (Bawling 66), Clifford, Collins, NcNerney
Subs not used: Mersin, Davey, Yorwerth, Tajbakhsh
Referee: Trevor Kettle
Attendance: 2,157 (212 away)