Unlucky Boro fall to defeat at Norwich...
A closely contested evening at Carrow Road proved too much for a Stevenage squad, who produced a perfomance to be proud of against a Championship side.
The visitors went one up in the first half hour, but a brilliantly hit Jimmy Ball free-kick brought Boro back level just before half-time. The equaliser was cancelled out by two late Norwich goals falling on the 83rdand 89th minutes.
Dino Maamria named a side not too dissimilar to the outfit that started against Crawley Town, the one notable change being 23-year-old Seny Dieng making his first team debut.
The game began sharply, Stevenage looked organised off the ball. Norwich struggled to break down the tightly knit Boro defence and 20 minutes in, the game was lacking any clear-cut chances.
That was until a quickly taken Norwich corner evaded every Stevenage defender, and was subsequently met on the back post by an un-marked Marco Stiepermann. All of Boro’s organisation and hard work was un-done in an instant, and the visitors were behind
Our heads did not seem to drop, and we were straight back to piling the pressure on the Norwich defence. After Michael Timlin was taken down 30 yards out, James Ball stepped up over the ball. The free-kick was well hit but straight down the throat of the Canary keeper.
The number 7 did not need a second chance however, this time, another free-kick just on the edge of the box was hit brilliantly by the midfielder straight in to the top right corner. Boro were level heading into the break.
The half ended at 1-1. The game looked 50/50 thus far with both teams having chances. The fixture was open and the high-octane finish to first half was sure to bring us an enthralling second.
The match continued to heat up as the second half proceeded, both on the pitch and off it. A couple of hefty and late challenges from both outfits led to frustration in the stands, on the side-line and on the pitch. It was no surprise that the first yellow card of the game arrived on the hour mark for Norwich number 24, Felix Passlack.
The game progressed, and chances were few, on came another competitive debutant for Boro in Donovan Makoma who replaced the Stevenage goal scorer James Ball.
Tensions were still high and Boro’s first yellow card of the evening was handed to Kurtis Guthrie for a late challenge on Norwich’s booked Passlack.
Norwich found their stride in the game going into the final twenty minutes as the Stevenage legs began to tire, no doubt due to the sustained pressure they applied throughout the game.
With 10 minutes to go, a deflected clearance ricocheted into the Stevenage net, off of the Canary captain Christoph Zimmermann and the game was as good as settled.
Then, on the 89thminute, Teemu Pukki hammered home the final nail in the Stevenage coffin, as he drilled a right footed shot into the debutant’s goal from the right-hand side of the box, 3-1 Norwich.
In what was a closely fought battle for 80 minutes, the Boro boys just couldn’t contest the pace of the Norwich attack. In the final minutes of the game, Stevenage’s Carabao Cup campaign was over in a flash.