REPORT: Boro keep it rolling with 2-0 win at Luton
Stevenage moved up to fourth in Sky Bet League Two with a superb 2-0 win at Luton Town this afternoon.
Luke Wilkinson gave Boro an early lead with a header after just two minutes as Stevenage controlled large parts of the first half and created further chances to score. Luton came back into it in the second half and really piled on the pressure, but Boro stood firm and doubled their lead with five minutes remaining through a superb Ben Kennedy effort.
Manager Darren Sarll made just the one change from last weekend’s win over Notts County with Ronnie Henry returning from injury to replace Fraser Franks, who himself missed out with a knock.
Stevenage had won on their last visit to Kenilworth Road and made the perfect to start to this game by taking the lead after just two minutes. Boro won a corner on the left and from Schumacher’s delivery, Luke Wilkinson’s bullet header found the back of the net to send the visiting fans wild behind the goal.
The men in red and white continued their bright start by winning a number of corners inside the first 10 minutes. Jobi McAnuff saw a shot blocked with Tom Pett then cautioned for preventing a breakaway.
After being under the cosh for the opening period of the game, Luton finally worked their way up the pitch and created a couple of chance. A header from Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu was headed behind by King and then on 13 minutes Danny Hylton cut inside but blazed over.
In what would prove a breathless first half, chances came and went for both sides in quick succession. Connor Ogilvie fired over on the quarter hour, Glen Rea shot wide from distance a minute later at the other end, before Ben Kennedy set his sights after cutting inside on 19 minutes but fired over.
For all Boro’s dominance, home ‘keeper Matt Macey had had little to do other that pick the ball up from the back of his net. However on 24 minutes a poor low kick hit Schumacher and the ball bounced into space. Ben Kennedy went to loft the ball back over the Arsenal loanee’s head but it cleared the bar in a let-off for the Hatters.
Luton showed glimpses of quality going forward but all too often were thwarted by Boro’s defence. Charlie Lee was there to clear a corner just before the half-hour and although the hosts won back possession, a cool header from King back to Day alleviated the danger.
The Hatters’ best chance of the half came on 30 minutes. The ball found its way through the visiting backline and it looked like Vassell would have a clear run at goal, only for 41-year old Chris Day to sprint out of his area Usain Bolt-style with a sliding challenge midway inside the half.
Charlie Lee dragged a 30-yard shot wide and Day turned a deflected shot over from Dan Potts as the two teams traded chances as the game approached half-time.
Five minutes before the break, Boro broke from a poor Hatters corner and Godden was left one-on-one with his defender. The in-form hitman tried to find Kennedy and the ball eventually fell to Lee who fired over.
Alan Sheehan curled a free-kick over the angle of post and bar and Jonathan Smith dragged a shot wide from distance as the Hatters finished the half strongly, but Stevenage went in with the goal advantage.
Stevenage won consecutive corners at the start of the second half and Kennedy saw a shot saved at the second attempt by Macey, as Boro began brightly. However soon enough Luton began to build up the pressure and they created a number of decent opportunities to level.
A well-worked free-kick saw two step-overs but Danny Hylton’s shot was deflected over by Charlie Lee. Steve Schumacher cleared off the line from the resulting corner, Jonathan Smith fired over, Ben Kennedy cleared from the next corner and then Glen Rea headed over as Boro really stood up to the pressure.
Isaac Vassell saw a fierce low shot fly just wide on 66 minutes before Stevenage finally relieved the pressure with a corner of their own, from which Luke Wilkinson headed centimetres wide.
With 12 minutes remaining Chris Day confirmed his legendary status among Boro fans with a fine save to deny Hylton from heading home a cross from Vassell.
Luton flooded forward but with five minutes remaining Stevenage got the all-important second to secure the victory. Ben Kennedy hadn’t proved particularly popular with the home fans in the second half but cut inside and found the top corner with a right-footed effort to make it 2-0.
Even two goals to the good, Darren Sarll’s men put their bodies on the line to secure the victory. Charlie Lee put in his umpteenth crucial block of the day to deny Hylton an immediate reply and Chris Day first made a double-block from close-range and then saved again from a late free-kick to record a superb clean sheet.
Victory for Stevenage makes it 25 points won from the last 27 and moves the team up to fourth in Sky Bet League 2. Next up is a trip to Blackpool on Tuesday night where Boro will look to continue their amazing unbeaten run.
Luton Town: Macey, O’Donnell, Potts (Gambin 46), Smith, Cuthbert (Justin 70), Hylton, Cook (Palmer 75), Rea, Mpanzu, Vassell, Sheehan
Subs not used: Moore, Gray, Marriott, D’Ath, Palmer, Justin
Stevenage: Day, Henry (Gorman 65), Wilkinson, King, Ogilvie, Pett, Schumacher (Tonge 87), Lee, McAnuff (Cowans 90), Kennedy, Godden
Subs not used: Preston, Hinds, Ntlhe, Loft
Referee: Brendan Malone
Attendance: 9,045 (699 away)