Three points in the bag...
Stevenage made it three games unbeaten in Sky Bet League Two on Saturday as a late Steve Seddon goal secured all three points against Grimsby at the Lamex Stadium.
It was 90 minutes that could have been interpreted as a lesson in patience as Stevenage dominated the contest and saw a slew of goalscoring chances go begging, but the players remained poised and ready to win it right until the end.
Dino Maamria named two changes to the side that drew 3-3 at Notts County last Saturday. Paul Farman (injury) replaced by Seny Dieng for his first league start of the season and James Ball replaced by Emmanuel Sonupe as the team lined-up in a 4-4-2 formation.
Often used as a lightning rod off the bench, Sonupe was eager to make the most of his starting berth and almost immediately paid back the boss inside the opening few minutes.
After beating his marker down the left, he burst into the Mariners box only to evade all of his teammates with the final pass. It was an early sign of intent though from Boro who were looking strong early on.
Boro were up for it and playing their best football at home of the season so far. Quick on the break and decisive with their passing, there was only one team that looked likely to score throughout the contest.
A smart one-two between Kennedy and Revell released the striker down the right on 22 minutes and after receiving it back, Grimsby’s Whitmore slid in to make a vital block on the forward’s shot. The rebound came back out for Sonupe, whose effort was deflected wide of the post much to the frustration of the Stevenage supporters.
Danny Newton came close to adding another spectacular strike to his ever-growing colletion, using his strength to back into his man before turning and unleashing a ferocious volley with his left foot that flew just over the crossbar.
The left hand side was working particularly well, with Seddon and Sonupe marauding down the line at every available opportunity. Seddon showed his class with less than five minutes to go in the half, beating his man to the by-line before arrowing in a cross for Revell, who couldn’t quite turn his header goalwards.
Grimsby rarely threatened but before the half was over, the Mariners would test the Stevenage defence with a barrage of set pieces that were flung into the Boro box. Cuthbert and co dealt with the threat well, getting their heads and bodies in the way of whatever was thrown their way.
The second half got off to a stormer. Chaotic scenes inside the Stevenage six yard box saw Grimsby almost find an opening goal as Boro hacked their way clear. When the ball fell to Kennedy inside his own half, not much appeared to be on but a strong run from the attacker opened up a 3 v 2 where he waited and waited, before laying it off for Newton whose shot was stopped by the leg of McKeown. Sonupe would pick up the loose ball but his curling effort towards the bottom left corner was blocked by a Grimsby defender.
Stevenage were enjoying their most sustained period of pressure throughout the game and McKeown was at it again five minutes later. Revell drawing a smart stop low to the keepers right and out for a corner.
That corner lead to a further two chances as Cuthbert’s header was blocked on the line before the ball came out for Nugent who smashed his strike over the bar.
With 15 minutes to go, Grimsby’s Luke Hendrie almost nicked a winner for the Mariners with a superbly hit left footed hit effort that flew narrowly wide of the top corner. It certainly would have been a cruel way for the game to have gone from a Stevenage perspective.
Due to Boro’s dominance in the game, Maamria made his changes later than usual as Guthrie replaced Kennedy with just over 10 minutes left. Ferry would later replace Sonupe after a fine performance from the winger.
It may have taken 80 minutes to find the breakthrough but that made it all the more sweeter as a direct run from Newton inside the box took all the defenders away, before the striker laid the ball across the six yard box for Seddon to tap in from point-blank range.
Cue a mass outpouring of relief and joy around the Lamex Stadium as Stevenage finally got their just rewards for a good performance infront of the home fans.
Grimsby threw everything at it during the closing moments but Boro were able to comfortably see out the result to make it 15 points from the first 9 games of the season.