Stevenage picked up their first point of the season against Leyton Orient on Saturday in testing conditions on the road...
After Cuthbert and Vancooten both went down in the first half, Boro were down to their bare bones but thanks to superb league debuts from Kell Watts and Luis Fernandez, along with a brilliantly gutsy team performance throughout, Stevenage headed back to Hertfordshire with a goalless draw.
Dino Maamria named three changes to the starting XI that faced Southend United on Tuesday night. Danny Newton returned to the team in place of Dean Parrett, Chris Stokes came in for Luis Fernandez whilst newly signed Kelland Watts made his debut in place of Noor Husin.
Boro’s injury crisis claimed another casualty just minutes into the match. Terence Vancooten unable to continue past 5 minutes, meaning a league debut for 17 year old Luis Fernandez who
It was a bright start to the match from both sides, with both teams going toe-to-toe and both keepers tested inside the opening 15 minutes. Guthrie forced a low stop by Brill from a narrow angle, whilst Farman was needed to deny Wilkinson and Wright with near-post saves of his own. Taylor didn’t come too far away from finding the top corner with a bending effort from the edge of the box, whilst Angol did the same from the opposite side of the box up the other end.
With 25 minutes gone, it looked like Stevenage were awarded a penalty after Kurtis Guthrie was tripped in the box as he was about to shoot on goal. Referee Lee Swabey pointed to the spot at first, but after a long discussion with his assistant, changed his mind.
After struggling with his fitness throughout the match, Cuthbert finally made way on 35 minutes as Arthur Iontton joined the action. Now with a starting centre-back duo aged just 17 and 19, Boro were up against it going into the second half after eight minutes of additional time were successfully negotiated.
Boro came back out for the second half with a fresh motivation and impetus but had to survive an early scare as Orient came out of the blocks quickly. Paul Farman was putting in a Man of the Match performance, demonstrated by a stunning double save just a few minutes into proceedings to keep the scoreline level.
Although the O’s enjoyed the majority of possession, territory and chances, Stevenage had their moments to strike, the best of which came in the 72 minute when Newton miss-hit a half volley after the ball came into him from 8 yards out.
Dale Gorman, who joined the action midway through the second half, almost ruined the day for his former team as he let fly from 25 yards out with 5 minutes to go, forcing Farman into another fine save that spilled out into the box, only for Boro to eventually clear.
As 4 minutes of added time were shown, it was Stevenage applying the pressure as Jason Cowley was brought on to provide the added impetus and with just seconds to go, Newton was denied by a brilliant Dean Brill save after the ball fell kindly to him from a Stevenage corner. In the end, Boro had to settle for a first point of the season ahead of Tuesday’s home clash with Bradford City.