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REPORT: Stevenage 2-0 Cheltenham Town

4 May 2019

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Jim Steele

Stevenage finished the season on a run of five wins from six games, including one draw, to reach 70 points and miss-out on the Play-Offs only by just a point...

Two quick-fire second half goals, courtesy of Joe Martin and Jordan Gibson, helped make sure of the points at home to Cheltenham as Dino Maamria’s men ran out 2-0 winners.

Following a high-profile and highly anticipated pre-match that included Boxing Superstars Tyson Fury and Billy Joe Saunders in-attendance, the game got off to a surprisingly subdued start as neither team could make any real in-roads during the first 15 minutes.

That was until Kurtis Guthrie, the league’s most in-form striker, stretched those long legs of his to beat his man out wide and drive into the box, before being clattered to the ground. The referee pointed straight to the spot and it was of no surprise that Guthrie stepped up to take it, a much bigger one that he failed to convert. Flinders doing well to get down and parry away the spot-kick.

The incident seemed to kick the team and crowd into life, as Emmanuel Sonupe soon after showed twinkling feet and rapid pace in to attack into the box, before letting off a dangerous cross/shot that Flinders caught hold of. Moments later, Sonupe was at it again, receiving a deft pass from Guthrie to go one-on-one with Flinders but his effort was wide of the post.

It was at this point that the chances really began to flow and it seemed a matter of time before Boro were to open the scoring. Sonupe again could have found the opener as he arrived late into the six yard box to almost connect with Chair’s cross, before Guthrie was released through on goal but his chipped effort fell on the wrong side of the post.

The match then began to settle down somewhat and a rare Cheltenham chance on 35 minutes sprung Farman into action, as Dawson fired at the goalkeeper from a narrow angle.

Into the second half and Stevenage went right for the throat of Cheltenham, attacking the defence time and time again. Kurtis Guthrie and Ilias Chair both came close to getting the second half off to the perfect start before it was one of the unlikeliest of scorers, Joe Martin who sent Stevenage into the lead. The rejuvenated left wing back adding the final touch to a goal-line scramble after Nugent and Cuthbert both had chances to force the ball home.

A minute later, Jordan Gibson landed the knockout blow as he received the ball on the right edge of the area, before setting himself and striking true into the far corner. A superb finish from the young loanee to all-but-make-certain of the three points.

With Colchester winning 3-0 at Lincoln, it became clear that a Play-Off spot would be impossible to achieve, but to the players and fans immense credit, continued to fight and sing for every inch.

There was a touching moment in the 66th minute as Ronnie Henry replaced Jordan Gibson for his 502nd appearance for the club, to a terrific ovation from the crowd. Arthur Iontton replaced Emmanuel Sonupe as both the past and future of Stevenage FC was put on show.

In the end, a 2-0 win was the least that Stevenage deserved as Maamria’s men did all that they could to force that final Play-Off spot and give the fans a brilliant send-off for the season.

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