Stevenage fell to a second straight defeat on Friday night as promotion chasing Coventry City made it a difficult evening for Dino Maamria’s men...
A nightmare opening to the game proved too much to overcome as two goals inside the first five minutes for the Sky Blues gave the hosts a commanding lead.
After Alex Revell pulled one back, there seemed to be a route back into the game, but a third for the hosts before the half was followed up by a Luke Wilkinson red card which meant the result was all but certain by half-time.
Despite the red, Stevenage improved in the second half but a potentially serious injury to Dale Gorman only compiled Boro's misery.
Dino Maamria made two changes to the side that lost out to Cambridge the previous Saturday, Fraser Franks and Ben Kennedy making way for Ben Sheaf and Chris Whelpdale.
As mentioned, it was a desperate start to the game for Stevenage as the Sky Blues struck inside two minutes. A powerful 30 yard strike from leading Coventry marksman, Mark McNulty to make it 1-0.
Before long it was 2-0 as McNulty grabbed his 21st league goal of the season from close range. Hesitant defending inside the Stevenage penalty area punished with authority.
With 20 minutes on the clock, Revell provided Stevenage with a life-line as he slotted home from close range after good work from Danny Newton to close down his man. The ball was latched upon by the striker before applying a cool finish past the advancing goalkeeper to make it 2-1.
That goal appeared to give the players a much-needed confidence boost as they went onto create a number of potential openings. Alex Revell’s untimely slip inside the box prevented th striker from getting a shot away on goal whilst Newton blasted wide from the edge of the box after Luke Amos seized upon a stray pass before feeding the Newt.
Just three minutes later though, it was 3-1. Liam Kelly with a fine low strike into the bottom corner past King, who had little chance of making the stop. Stevenage punished again after a poor few minutes where they were pinned back deep in their territory.
All that happened before then culminated in a red card for Luke Wilkinson after an unfortunate incident with Mark McNulty. Having cleared the ball, Wilkinson collided with the Coventry man and after brief consultation with his assistant, the referee showed red.
Just before the half was out, Kelly cames inches away from getting his second as he saw his volley crash off the bar in added time.
Dale Gorman came on at half-time to replace Matty Godden whilst Whelpdale moved into right-back and Ronnie Henry centre-back.
Stevenage started the second half in a much better fashion and managed to restrict the opposition to very little in-front of goal.
It was much the same story at the other end though as Boro struggled to get numbers forward in order to create an opening for themselves.
Gorman certainly provided a spark in midfield as he kept things ticking over but the best that Stevenage could muster in attack was a couple of half-chances that were either snuffed out or well defended.
After Ben Sheaf won the ball deep in the Coventry half, he played the ball out for Revell to find a Stevenage man but his cross was cut out at the crucial time.
With 15 minutes left, Dale Gorman left the pitch on a stretcher following an innocuous looking challenge in the centre circle. The young midfielder and his teammates clearly distraught after what looked like a serious injury.
Northern Ireland duo Mckee and Kennedy replaced Gorman and Newton, as the minutes began to dwindle down with the score still 3-1.
In truth, the scoreline never looked like changing throughout the second half as neither side were able to create a clear opening. The onus clearly on Boro, but with ten men and a two goal deficit, it was always going to be a tough ask.
So a bad day all round for Stevenage as the focus switches to the final home game of the season against Exeter.