REPORT: Crewe 1-2 Stevenage
Stevenage continued their charge up the table with a 2-1 win at Crewe featuring goals from Matt Godden and Fraser Franks.
During an incident packed game, Jamie Jones and Chris Dagnall both received red cards in the first half, leaving both teams to play the majority of the game with ten men.
The victory means Boro have now picked up 16 points out the last 18 available, a remarkable run of form at a crucial stage of the season.
Darren Sarll was forced into two changes as Steve Schumacher and Ronnie Henry were both ruled out with injury, Charlie Lee and Jack King coming into the starting XI.
It didn’t take long for top scorer Matt Godden to make his mark on the game. A trademark long throw from Charlie Lee was chucked into Godden, who made a sharp turn surrounded by defenders before poking the ball over the keeper and into the net. It was another brilliant finish from the striker who is now on 17 goals for the season.
The game never really settled down during the first and both sides looked nervous at the back. Crewe had their chances as Bowery missed a great opportunity before Nugent and Guthrie both spurned decent looks at goal.
On 26 minutes it all kicked off. Chris Dagnall went in high and late on Jamie Jones, leaving him needing a stretcher off the pitch and out injured for a few weeks. After the initial challenge, Dagnall went over towards Jones and then an incident occurred where it appeared both players crossed the line. The referee showed two red cards which meant Michael Tonge had to be replaced by Chris Day.
Despite the controversy, Boro got their second of the game on 35 minutes after McAnuff’s corner was sent towards the back-post where Wilkinson headed back across goal for Fraser Franks to finish. Two set-pieces, two goals, two nil up.
Crewe made a double sub at half-time but it was Stevenage who settled the better early on in the half. Connor Ogilvie fired wide from a swift counter-attack before Lee and then Wilkinson both had chances to extend the lead.
In truth, the game appeared to be heading for a comfortable finish until the referee pointed to the spot after Cooper was bundled over in the box. Jones sent Day the wrong way and Crewe had life.
With the home crowd behind them, the Railwaymen began to bombard our penalty area with cross after cross but the Boro backline held their nerve and held on for the win.
Heroic defensive displays were needed from much of the team as Day barely had to make a save in the final minutes, despite all the Crewe pressure.
Stevenage: Jones (Red 25'), King, Franks, Wilkinson, McAnuff, McQuoid (61'), Pett, Tonge (27'), Ogilvie, Lee, Godden (83').
Subs: Day (27'), Kennedy (61'), Gorman (83'), Cowans, Hinds, Ntlhe, Loft.
Crewe: Garratt, Turton, Guthrie (45'), Ray, Nugent, Jones, Dagnall (Red 25'), Cooper, Bowery, Wintle (45'), Cooke.
Subs: Richards, Bakayogo (45'), Bingham, Kirk, Kiwomya (45'), Ng, Ainley.
3547 (172 away)