Stevenage fell to defeat at the hands of Lincoln City on Saturday in a well-fought battle with the League Two promotion favourites...
After the visitors took an early lead from the penalty spot, Stevenage took the game to the Imps and had all the play in the second half but just couldn’t find that all-important equaliser.
The Manager made three changes from the side that lost out at Swindon 11 days ago, bringing in James-Wildin, Nugent and Vancooten for Henry, Wilkinson and Hunt. Starting for Lincoln were former Boro boys Tom Pett, Bruno Andrade and Michael Bostwick.
As has often been the case at home this season, the away side took an early lead meaning that Stevenage would need to do it the hard way once again if victory was to be earned.
A rare mistake from Cuthbert allowed the Imps to go ahead as Akinde got the wrong side of the centre-back inside the penalty area before being felled. It was the striker who stepped up to convert, sending the ball narrowly past the outstretched arms of Dieng.
After getting off to a difficult start, the game soon settled down and Stevenage began to find their rhythm. Kennedy had a brilliant opportunity to pick out a teammate on 22 minutes as he robbed the ball off Shackell on the by-line before taking it into the box and pulling the ball back across the area.
It was a tight and niggly first half with very few chances for either side but as the half wore on, it was Boro in the ascendency. A few moments here and there not quite coming off for Maamria’s men as a dogged Lincoln City defence swatted away any advancements before the break.
Stevenage started the second half well on the front-foot with the Imps penned back deep in their own territory. Kennedy saw a free-kick beaten away by Smith in goal before JCR came closest to connecting with a Vancooten cross that Smith claimed.
That would be the last meaningful action of the game for Campbell-Ryce as he soon made way for Newton with the game set-up for the striker to make himself a hero, again.
It took less than 10 minutes for him to come close, volleying over the bar with an acrobatic effort as Stevenage continued to push the Imps back.
In a rare Lincoln attack, Anderson broke past the challenge of Nugent but could only find the side netting from a tight angle.
It was an absorbing contest which Stevenage weren’t ready to give up on yet and with ten minutes remaining, substitute Sonupe came inches away from finding the bottom corner as he aimed to put the final touch to a superb Stevenage attacking move.
With the minutes dwindling down, Danny Newton headed a clever free-kick towards the top corner but the ever-alert Smith was able to get across and make the claim.
In the end Stevenage threw everything at the opposition but it wasn’t enough as second-placed Lincoln held onto all three points.