MATCH REPORT: CRAWLEY TOWN 1, STEVENAGE 2
Stevenage returned to winning ways on the road with an excellent 2-1 win at Crawley Town this afternoon.
Boro had to do it the hard way too, trailing at half-time to a James Collins penalty. However a late Matt Godden double, the second of which was deep into eight minutes of added time, won the game in style for the visitors.
Darren Sarll made just the one change from last weekend’s win against Grimsby with deadline day signing Jack King returning in place of Ronnie Henry, who missed out with a knock. Jack slotted in alongside Luke Wilkinson and Fraser Franks shuffled along to right-back.
Stevenage began brightly and had a sight of goal after just two minutes. With Boro pressing forward early on, a loose ball across the box fell kindly for Steve Schumacher whose fierce left-footed effort was blocked and then cleared, with Jobi McAnuff lurking nearby.
Crawley won a couple of corners before the 10 minute mark but Boro defended them well. From that point it took until the 19th minute for the next clear-cut chance and it fell Stevenage’s way.
A header from Godden found Kennedy and the youngster burst past his man into the box but ‘keeper Glenn Morris came out to thwart him.
Darren Sarll’s men continued to be the better team in the opening 20 minutes and when Kennedy was fouled three minutes later it gave Schumacher the chance to hit a free-kick from 30 yards, only for his set piece to hit the wall and go behind for the corner.
Crawley hadn’t really offered much going forward but on 27 minutes were handed a penalty. Despite a lack of protest from the home players, referee Swabey adjudged Luke Wilkinson to have brought down James Collins from behind and awarded a fourth spot-kick against Boro in four games. Collins made no mistake from the spot, smashing home for 1-0.
Two minutes later Stevenage went close to finding an immediate equaliser. A brilliant run from Kennedy saw the Northern Irish Under-21 international advance from level with his own penalty area to 10 yards from the Crawley corner flag, before winning a free-kick. Schumacher’s delivery was headed back across goal by Wilkinson and in the ensuing scramble, Godden fired over from a tight angle.
Dean Cox fired wide for Crawley on 35 minutes before Boro’s best chance of the half fell to Kennedy. Matt Godden intercepted a loose ball out of defence and ran towards McAnuff out left, before cleverly reversing a pass into Kennedy’s path, but he could only shoot straight at Morris.
Connor Ogilvie went on a decent run and shot wide at one end, before Enzio Boldewijn shrugged off Jack King, advanced on goal and hit Jones’ bar at the other end as the hosts went into the break 1-0 to the good.
The second half started slowly and wasn’t helped by a lengthy delay due to injury to referee Swabey, who was eventually replaced by assistant Steve Finch.
With an hour on the clock, good build-up play by Boro saw McAnuff float in a deep cross for Pett, but nobody was there to convert his header back across goal.
Stevenage kept up the pressure and moments later a great interception by Franks saw the defender work his way into the box and release Steve Schumacher. The midfielder went down under a challenge but referee Finch pointed to a corner.
Enzio Boldjwijn collected an early Dean Cox cross, turned neatly but blazed over in a rare chance for Crawley on 62 minutes, before Boro went back on the attack at the other end.
With 21 minutes remaining, Tom Pett weaved his way through midfield and fired in a low effort which was parried by Morris. Matt Godden was there to fire the ball back across goal but McQuoid couldn’t reach the cross. From the resulting throw, Luke Wilkinson then fired a loose ball over.
The pressure was really mounting on the home defence and sure enough, with 15 minutes remaining the visitors pulled level through Matt Godden. A near-post flick from McQuoid from a McAnuff cross was parried by Morris but there was Godden to fire home from a narrow angle.
Boro continued to strangle the game impressively and if anyone was going to win the game, it looked like Darren Sarll’s men who continued to win corners, free-kicks and throws deep in the Crawley half.
Fraser Franks shot tamely at Morris as the game entered eight minutes of added time, but Boro weren’t to be denied. Deep into those added minutes Matt Godden fired home to spark wild scenes of celebration among the travelling fans behind the goal and seal all three points for Stevenage.
Next up for Boro is a home game against high-flying Wycombe Wanderers next Saturday. Tickets for this game can be purchased at www.borotickets.co.uk.
Stevenage: Jones, Franks, Wilkinson, King, Ogilvie, Lee, Schumacher, Pett, McAnuff (Hinds 77), Godden (Loft 90), Kennedy (McQuoid 68)
Subs not used: Day, Gorman, Tonge, Cowans
Crawley Town: Morris, Payne (Clifford 90), Connolly, Boldewijn (Murphy 77), Smith, Roberts (Bawling 90), Yorwerth, Collins, McNerney, Lelan, Cox
Subs not used: Mersin, Blackman, Djalo, Henderson
Referee: Lee Swabey
Attendance: 2,124 (233 away)