REPORT: Long unbeaten run comes to an end in Blackpool
Stevenage’s fine unbeaten run came to an abrupt end in Blackpool on Tuesday night as an early Mark Cullen penalty was enough to inflict defeat on Darren Sarll’s men.
On a difficult night in difficult conditions, Boro huffed and puffed but couldn't quite get find a way past a stout Blackpool defence.
Darren Sarll only had to make one change from Saturday’s win at Luton, Fraser Franks coming in for the injured Ronnie Henry.
In an empty stadium where the travelling Stevenage fans were making all the noise, it took some time for Boro to settle. There was an early scare and warning sign when Flores struck the outside of Day’s crossbar with a fine strike from 25 yards.
Not long after, the home side had the lead. Mark Cullen converting from the spot after the referee judged King to have handled in the area. It looked fairly innocuous from the press box but perhaps tellingly, there were no real complaints from the Stevenage players.
Blackpool continued to dictate the game and were looking particularly dangerous from set pieces. Mellor struck the post in amongst a bundle of players at the far post from a corner, a real let off so early in the game.
Boro were struggling to get time on the ball, the Blackpool midfield quick to get in the faces of Schumacher, Lee and Pett. Their 4-5-1 formation was proving difficult to break down.
On 40 minutes though Stevenage should have been level with a quick fire double chance. Steven Schumacher’s corner was kept alive in the box and from 6 yards out, Jack King was first denied by the keeper with his left foot before the ball came back to him and he fired over with his right.
Before the half was out, it could have been almost game over. A quick break saw Boro short at the back and after Delfoeunso was teed up from 12 yards out, it looked a certain goal. Luke Wilkinson the man again to throw himself in front of the ball and make a huge block to keep it 1-0 at the break.
Boro got off to a quick start once we resumed, Ben Kennedy forcing Lyness down low to make a smart stop from 18 yards out.
It was a better second half from Stevenage. Although far from the level of of performance we have become used to in recent weeks, the team kept plugging away and forcing Blackpool to retreat.
Our best opportunity to draw level came early in the second half as King flicked on a long throw towards the unmarked McAnuff at the back post. Unfortunately it seemed to take the winger by surprise as he skewed his effort wide of the goal.
Blackpool continued to cause problems from set pieces and Ben Kennedy was needed to block one on the line as Cullen continued his search for a second.
Former Boro loanee, Jamille Matt should have wrapped the game up with ten minutes to go but could only hit the post after pouncing on Chris Day’s parry.
Stevenage had the home side pinned back as we headed towards additional time and there was to be one more opportunity to salvage something from the game. Jack King, involved in pretty much everything it seemed, firing at the body of Lyness from about 12 yards out.
So, a disappointing night by the sea but Stevenage remain firmly in the play-off picture ahead of this Saturday’s game at home to Portsmouth.
Stevenage: Day, Franks, King, Wilkinson, Ogilvie, Pett, Lee, Schumacher, Kennedy (Hinds 64'), Godden, McAnuff (McQuoid 73')
Subs not used: Preston, Gorman, Tonge, Mckee, Ntlhe
Blackpool: Lyness, Mellor, Aldred, Robertson, Taylor, Potts (Black 68'), Flores (Danns 64'), Payne, Daniel, Delfouneso, Cullen (Matt 76')
Subs not used: Slocombe, Aimson, Samuel, Gnanduillet
Referee: Ross Joyce