Boro boys fall just short...
Stevenage fell to the cruelest of defeats at Newport on Saturday as a last minute Antoine Semenyo strike condemned Boro to a 2-1 defeat at Rodney Parade.
Just as it looked like the team would be heading back to Hertfordshire with another point in the bag, the Exiles struck with just seconds to go in added time.
Dino Maamria named three changes from the side that beat Colchester last Saturday as James-Wildin, Newton and Campbell-Ryce were all restored to the starting line-up.
Just like last weekend, Stevenage could barely get themselves set before the opposition took the lead. Dolan volleying an unstoppable strike into the top corner from distance, sending Rodney Parade wild as the Exiles looked to continue their fine home record.
Backed behind their noisy supporters, Newport had Stevenage on the back-foot for the first 10 minutes or so of the contest as Maamria’s men dug in to ensure that the game didn’t get away from them.
It wasn’t before long that the noise quietened down though and Boro began to gain a measure of control over the game. It was far from a purists idea of a game of football, as chances were few and far between, but Ben Kennedy almost added a magical touch to the contest with a curling effort from the edge of the box on the half hour mark.
Newport barely threatened Dieng’s goal since opening the scoring in the very first minute and by the time we got to the break, Stevenage were well worthy of the equaliser. Keeping the opposition quiet whilst slowly growing more and more influential in attack themselves, the half was capped off by James-Wildin, returning to the team in style, who headed in at the back-post to make it 1-1. The goal came after good work by Campbell-Ryce to keep the ball in play before Seddon found his man with a deep cross, unmarked and ready to pounce.
The Exiles’ Dan Butler was the first to test either keeper after the interval but his low, skidding effort towards Dieng was confidently handled by the young stopper. He was at it again 10 minutes later as he tried to imitate his teammate Dolan, with an ambitious volley that sailed comfortably over the Stevenage goal.
Newport were pushing hard and Jamille Matt, well known to Stevenage fans after his loan spell with the club in 2015, saw a scuffed shot fall wide of the post after beating out Cuthbert to get goal-side.
Boro knew though that as long as the scores were level, there was every chance that an opportunity would be carved out before the end to take home all three points.
That chance almost came on 70 minutes as Nugent rose highest from a Byrom free-kick, only to glance his header wide of the post.
Maamria knew the team needed fresh legs. Ferry and Sonupe came on for Timlin and Campbell-Ryce with less than 10 minutes to go, the two players looking to provide the extra energy needed to A, keep the Exiles at bay and B, push for a winner.
A number of lengthy injuries throughout the game meant that 9 minutes of added time were shown by the Fourth Official as Alex Reid came on for Ben Kennedy during the final exchanges.
The game was set-up for a blockbuster finish and so it proved. Substitute Antoine Semenyo with the last second strike to break Stevenage hearts ahead of the home clash with Crewe Alexandra in seven days time.