REPORT: Stevenage 3-0 Portsmouth
Stevenage got right back to winning ways on Saturday with an outstanding 3-0 win against fellow promotion chasers, Portsmouth.
The result means Boro maintain their 100% home record in 2017 and it moves us up into fourth place, just four points behind today’s visitors.
Darren Sarll was forced into two changes from the defeat at Blackpool, Connor Ogilvie and Ben Kennedy both out with injury. Thankfully there were ready made replacements on hand in Kgosi Ntlhe and Josh McQuoid.
The first chance of the game came for the away side when Evans struck the top of the bar from 20 yards out. Portsmouth got in down the left through Enda Stevens who pulled it back well to find the on-running full-back.
A few moments later it was that man, Matty Godden causing Portsmouth problems. Shrugging past his marker on the left hand side, he got behind the visiting defenders but could only find the side netting from a narrow angle.
On 11 minutes it looked like Boro had taken the lead. Schumacher’s free-kick forcing Forde into a triple save as his original parry came out to McQuoid, who saw his first and then second effort denied from only a yard or two out. There were strong appeals towards the assistant referee thinking McQuoid had squeezed it over the line but 0-0 it stayed.
For a few minutes anyway. When Luke Wilkinson hooked the ball towards goal from the right touchline, not much looked on. That was until it looped onto the underside of the crossbar and out to Jack King, leaving him with a simple header into the net. Another goal made by our centre-backs who haven’t been shy in creating or scoring goals this season.
Portsmouth responded in the way you would expect and dominated possession for the next 15 minutes. They were unable to work Chris Day in goal though as Boro’s defence remained stingy.
After two games without a goal, some joked about Matty Godden going through a drought but he was right back at it on 27 minutes. Jobi McAnuff finding the striker unmarked at the back post from a recycled free-kick and one cushioned volley past the keeper later, it was 2-0.
The bar came to our rescue once again before the half was out. Baker striking the woodwork from a fine free-kick and although Portsmouth continued to push for a route back into the game, Boro saw the half out well to go into the break 2-0 up.
If there was any question whether it would be our day, less than one minute into the second half, those questions were answered. Charlie Lee finding Godden over the top and after brushing past his man, the striker forced Forde into a save but thankfully McAnuff was following it in to make it 3-0.
Portsmouth went direct to try and find a response but were coming up short as Wilkinson, King, Franks, Ntlhe and Lee all fought hard to preserve the lead. Day rarely troubled during the second half, a testament to the work done in front of him.
As the game was beginning to wind down, Portsmouth went down to ten men. Christian Burgess sent off after receiving a second yellow card for a block on Godden.
Godden had the chance to get his second with ten minutes remaining, breaking clear of the visiting defence again, this time shooting straight into the body of Forde.
With just a few minutes left in the game, Pompey had a chance from the spot to narrow the deficit but a panenka penalty from Chaplin didn't fool Day, who simply stood there and caught the ball with ease.
So a huge win for Stevenage to bounce back from a first defeat in ten on Tuesday, a sign surely that this team is here to stay.
Full match reaction and highlights available at StevenageFC.com and Boro PlayerHD across the weekend.