Stevenage drew 1-1 with MK Dons in the club's first pre-season friendly at The Lamex Stadium in an entertaining match in which Alex Revell's side more than matched their opposition...
The starting XI for the first half saw Johnson, Vancooten, Marshall, Prosser, Coker, Vincelot, Iontton, Osborne, List, Carter and Marsh take to the pitch for what would be a competitive first half against a strong League One side.
Boro started brightly and could have taken the lead inside the first 10 minutes as Elliott was released down the right before firing a powerful strike at the near-post, only to be denied by Nicholls with a good save.
Dons’ Healey headed inches wide minutes later during an entertaining and end-to-end opening to the contest. Things soon settled down however but Stevenage’s game-plan and early identity was clear to see as the team pressed with intensity and looked to use quick transitions to break on the opposition.
That pressing almost resulted in a goal on 18 minutes as Osborne ran down the Dons Goalkeeper whose clearance came off the midfielder, only to see the ball run harmlessly to safety for a goal-kick.
Arthur Iontton was forced off with an injury on 30 minutes which brought Effiong into the action earlier than expected and MK Dons were to finish the half the stronger, which resulted in a goal just before half-time for Ben Gladwin, who was played through on goal before rounding Johnson to finish into the empty net.
Cuthbert, Trialist, Akinwande & Cumming all came on for the second half, replacing Prosser, Coker, Marsh & Johnson.
Stevenage came out for the second half with a fire in their belly, spurning a multitude of chances to get back into the game. Effiong was twice denied by Nicholls within a matter of minutes before Osborne hit the post from a narrow angle as Boro ran riot during the early goings.
A trialist should have but wasn’t awarded a penalty on 60 minutes as he was clattered in the box by a Dons defender and Carter had a golden chance to level things up five minutes later as he received a ball across the box but couldn’t apply the finishing touch.
Visiting substitutes Bird & Morris almost had an immediate impact as they the former saw two shots fly wide shortly after his introduction before Morris glanced his header wide after an acrobatic dive, which was about as close as the Dons came during the second half.
A second trialist and Smith came on for List and Vincelot soon after and just moments later, Boro finally got their just rewards on 72 minutes to make it 1-1. The goal came after strong play from Effiong to hold the ball up and drive forward allowed Osborne to get into the position from the flank, to pick out a trialist who finished with aplomb.
More changes saw Fernandez, Fielding and a third trialist enter the fray for Carter, Osborne and Vancooten, as the half continued in much the same vein, with Stevenage pushing for a winner.
In the end it wasn’t to be but Alex Revell will have much to be encouraged about by the afternoon’s work.