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Match Reports

REPORT: Stevenage 0-1 Watford

27 July 2018

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Onto next Saturday's season opener...

Stevenage finished their pre-season schedule with a 1-0 defeat at home to Premier League Watford on Friday night.

Just like on Tuesday, it was a late goal that won it for the visitors as Andre Gray bundled the ball home with just two minutes left to play.

Javi Gracia brought a strong squad to the Lamex Stadium that saw the likes of Etienne Capoue, Jack Rodwell, Daryl Janmaat and Troy Deeney all feature.

Dino Maamria’s squad coped well with the challenge though and more than matched the team in yellow across the evening.

The manager made five changes to the side that narrowly lost out to Crystal Palace on Tuesday night. Cuthbert, Nugent and Revell restored to the starting line-up after a midweek rest whilst Danny Newton was able to recover from injury in-time. Mark McKee missed out after picking up a knock during the warm-ups, meaning James Ferry was handed a start.

It was our Premier League neighbours that had all the early pressure and chances. Paul Farman showed why he was brought in this summer with two outstanding early saves after just a couple of minutes to deny both Will Hughes and Sebastian Prodl within the space of 30 seconds.

After 10 minutes or so though, Stevenage settled and began to look more like the team that Boro supporters had got used to watching this pre-season.

Newton headed wide from a Kennedy cross but the experienced Watford defence were able to keep Boro at bay throughout the first half.

It didn’t take too long for the Hornets to come buzzing back but it was that man, Paul Farman who continued to dominate the game.

Having already been denied by the former Lincoln man already, Jakubiak and Hughes were once again prevented from opening up the scoring by Stevenage’s #1.

There was to be one great chance for Stevenage to take the lead before the break as Ben Nugent came steaming in at the back-post from a Joel Byrom free-kick, only to be kept out by Gomes.

The second half started in a much different fashion, Boro were on the front foot and looking at their most dangerous all night. Revell saw a flying header kept out by Gomes after only a few minutes before a number of well taken set-piece deliveries caused chaos amongst the Watford defenders.

Watford’s best chance of the game came through Andre Gray who really should have made it 1-0 on the hour mark. The former Luton man lurking in the box just a few yards out, however a skewed finish meant he would only turn it onto the bar and into the travelling Hornets.

Alex Reid, Ronnie Henry, Arthur Iontton, Terence Vancooten, Andronicos Georgiou, Jamal Campbell-Ryce and Luke Wilkinson soon entered the contest but performance levels roughly remained the same as Stevenage continued to go for the win.

Chances were sparse towards the latter stages of the game but right at the death, Andre Gray managed to turn the ball home from less than a yard out as a mix-up at the back ended up proving costly.

All in all, a positive pre-season as attention turns to Sky Bet League Two and Tranmere at home a week on Saturday.

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