REPORT: Boro's season ends with defeat to Accrington
Stevenage’s tilt at promotion finally fell short on Saturday evening as three second half goals from Accrington condemned Boro to defeat and meant for a 10th place finish in Sky Bet League Two.
As things went, a Stevenage win wouldn’t have been enough as Carlisle turned things around at Exeter to secure that final play-off spot.
Darren Sarll made just one change from last Saturday’s draw at Yeovil, bringing back in top goalscorer Matty Godden to the starting line-up after missing the past month with injury.
The game got off to a thunderous reception from the Stevenage fans, showing their appreciation to the players for their efforts this season.
It didn’t take long for Godden to get away his first effort on goal as he smashed the ball into the side netting from a narrow angle. Certainly an encouraging sign from both a personal and team point of view.
It was an end-to-end first half with both teams seeing good opportunities come and go. 10 minutes in McQuoid headed into the keeper’s hands after Ronnie found him from out wide and shortly after, Ronnie was needed at the other end as he threw his body on the line to block Conneely from close range.
On 21 minutes Jamie Jones was forced into meaningful action for the first time, stopping Donacien from point blank range. It was non-stop action at that point with Steven Schumacher bringing a save out of Rodak from 20 yards out on the volley.
Rodak was needed again ten minutes later, Connor Ogilvie letting off a fierce strike from over 30 yards out and despite losing the ball for a second, the keeper got back on top it just ahead of the waiting Matty Godden.
With 39 minutes gone, Tom Pett shot wide of the goal after driving into space and second later, Schumacher made his way into the area but his shot/cross was claimed by Rodak.
Stevenage hearts were in mouths just before the break as McCartan looked to break clear of the defence only for Dean Wells to take him down. Despite Accrington’s appeal for a red card, the referee only showed yellow.
Accrington started the second half much the better team and it took a while for Boro to settle down. The Stevenage defence working overtime early in the half to keep the visitors at bay.
Tom Pett was the first man to spark into life since the break, dribbling past two men to work space inside the box but his powerful shot was blocked when looking like it was heading in.
Accrington continued to pose a threat throughout the second half and in truth Stevenage were fortunate not to be behind on 60 minutes. Clark smashing over from only about 10 yards out after the ball fell kindly to him inside a crowded area.
Stevenage weren’t to get a second bit of fortune though as with twenty minutes to go, Accrington took the lead. McCartan going over a soft challenge inside the box and Billy Kee converting from the spot.
Looking for a route back into the game, Boro threw men forward but Jobi McAnuff lost his footing just at the wrong time as he and Jamie Gray got in-behind the defence. Not long after Godden brought a fine save from Rodak with a glancing header but it was all to be too little too late.
Accrington sealed the deal with ten minutes to go as Billy Kee made the most of Boro’s desperation to score, finishing off a swift counter attack to make it 2-0. In added time, Conneely made it 3 with a second Accrington penalty of the game.
So the challenge falls short but it has been a fine effort to go from relegation candidates to promotion hopefuls. One thing is for sure, Darren Sarll will have his players motivated and ready to give it another go in 2017/2018.