Stevenage started the Sky Bet League Two season with a 2-0 defeat at Salford City, as a goal from Emmanuel Dieseruvwe in either half came without reply...
Typical of an opening day clash, there was little between the two sides as nerves appeared to play their part, but when faced with the goal to aim at, it was Salford who were more calm and more clinical.
Dino Maamria named three debutants as Jamie Fielding, Tom Soares and Chris Stokes all featured for Stevenage in a competitive match for the very first time. Dean Parrett also returned to the starting XI for the first time since leaving the Club three years ago.
It was 19 year old Jamie Fielding who caught the eye during the early stages of the contest, showing impressive calmness and technique at left-wing back, a position unfamiliar to the former Hastings defender but standing in due to a rash of pre-season injuries throughout the squad.
Salford got off to a fast start, buoyed by their enthusiastic home support on a historic day for the football club as they embarked on their first ever season in the EFL. Ibou Touray forced the first save of the game, making Farman get down quickly to his near post after the Ammies almost caught Maamria’s men out by going short from a corner. Farman was needed again 16 minutes in as he kept out Rooney’s half volley with a spectacular stop that saw the ball tipped onto the crossbar and over.
Stevenage started to grow into the game though and saw a big penalty appeal fall on death ears after 20 minutes as Parrett played Sonupe through on goal, only for his progress to be halted by what looked like a flagging Salford challenge. Much to he and his teammates frustration, referee Kevin Johnson waved away all protests, just as he waved away what might have been another Sonupe goal a few minutes alter as he acrobatically volleyed the ball home from an offside position.
Despite having just wrestled control of the contest, Salford went ahead on 28 minutes as Dieseruvwe fired in from six yards out, after a brilliant through ball by Wiseman split open the Boro defence. Things got more complicating before the half as Dean Parrett was forced off on 43 minutes with what looked like a slight hamstring problem, allowing for the introduction of Paul Taylor to make his debut.
Danny Newton replaced Jamie Fielding at the break as Boro but many of the Manager’s half-time plans would have gone out the window just a few minutes after the restart, as Dieseruvwe pounced from close range to capitalise upon rather hesitant Stevenage defending. The Salford striker should have had his hat-trick on 55 minutes as he created a decent look for himself from a narrow angle before poking wide.
Guthrie fired over shortly after with an ambitious volley on his left foot and Husin soon replaced Iontton, but nothing was quite coming off for Boro as every attack seemed to stall before reaching its conclusion.
Things picked up inside the final 15 minutes – first up Newton rattled the woodwork as he came steaming in at the backpost from a corner before hitting whipped a well-hit shot from the edge of the box straight into the goalkeepers hands. Guthrie saw a deflected shot fall wide of the post as the match approached its conclusion, by which point, it became clear it wasn't going to be Stevenage's day.
In the end, it was a frustrating return to league action for Boro who will look to pick up their first win of the season at the second attempt, in one weeks time at home to Exeter.