Boro and Magpies share the spoils...
Stevenage were made to settle for a hard fought point at home to Notts County as Danny Newton’s goal was cancelled out in the second half by Elliott Hewitt’s strike.
Boro performed well throughout the contest, matching the joint-league leaders all over the park with just one mistake allowing the opposition in to score.
The result see’s Boro finish the afternoon just two points outside the play-offs as we head towards the Christmas stretch.
Darren Sarll named an unchanged side from last Saturday’s FA Cup win over Nantwich with Dale Gorman on international duty and Ben Kennedy still recovering from his recent operation.
The league leaders started the game well, loading direct balls into the Boro defence and although Jon Stead was causing problems with his strength and height, Jack King and co were able to handle the early wave of pressure.
The first chance of real substance came to Stevenage though, Danny Newton seeing his looping header crash off the bar after a superb delivery from Martin out wide.
Not long after, Matty Godden saw his header flash past the post from another Martin delivery as Stevenage began to step up and stamp their mark on proceedings.
The game was a scrappy affair with plenty of stoppages and long balls. A battle out on the pitch rather than a slick footballing procession.
Harry Beautyman came close with a driven effort that flew just the wrong side of the post and tensions were high as Notts received two yellow cards within quick succession as we approached half-time.
The deadlock was finally broken on 40 minutes as Danny Newton smashed it past Fitzsimons as the loose ball broke to him in the box. Just rewards for a strong first half showing and Newton made sure with a rifled effort.
Notts came whiskers away from drawing level 5 minutes later as Grant’s free-kick from just outside the box was inches away.
Straight out of half-time, Danny Newton had the chance to extend both his goal tally and his teams lead. Latching onto the end of Whelpdale’s chipped ball, Newton chose to go alone at the near-post when perhaps there were better options inside the box.
Jorge Grant, the visitor’s top scorer came close on two occasions early in the second half. First turning over a volley from 10 yards out before striking the outside of the post with a cushioned effort from the same range.
The Magpies continued to cause problems from set-pieces but with ten minutes gone in the second half, Boro had the answer for whatever questions were thrown at them.
Danny Newton again could have extended the lead after showing great guile to turn his man on the edge of the box, before firing with his right foot, not far over the bar.
With Boro doing so much good, it was one poor ball across the defence that let Notts back into the game. Smith’s untimely pass falling to a Notts man who made the most of their man advantage with Hewitt finishing it off, sending Fryer the wrong way.
With the game hanging in the balance, both sides looked to find an all-important second goal to more than likely win the game.
Alex Samuel came on for Matty Godden and provided some extra energy for Boro in the closing stages, running hard down the channels and leading the line with a burst of pace.
Beautyman saw an acrobatic volley just about denied by the Notts goalkeeper inside a crowded box as Boro went for the win late on.
A goalline scramble was hacked away from the Stevenage area as both sides continued to push for a winner.
In the end, neither side were able to carve out that one golden chance as the Stevenge fans saw a return to form in Sky Bet League Two.