A share of the spoils against the Valiants…
Luke Norris’ first half free-kick levelled the game for Stevenage after an early setback, as the game finished all square at The Lamex Stadium.
Alex Revell named three changes from team that fell to defeat in midweek, with Scott Cuthbert, Charlie Carter and Chris Lines all missing out through injury. Luke Prosser, Elliot Osborne and Jamie Reid came into the starting eleven, while Arthur Read was named on the bench for the first time this season.
Stevenage started the brighter of the two sides, and almost had an immediate lead through Jake Reeves. The midfielder had already made a positive impact in his Boro career so far, and almost doubled his goal tally with the first shot of the game. After dancing his way into the Port Vale penalty area, Reeves cut back onto his right and fired at goal – only for a wicked deflection to take the ball onto the woodwork and out.
Against the run of play, Darrell Clarke’s side took the lead twenty minutes in. A Port Vale cross into the box was not dealt with before the ball was Devante Rodney to tap into the back of the net. Ben Coker almost got to the ball in time to clear off the line but could not quite make it and Stevenage were behind.
Midway through the first half, it still looked like Stevenage would be the side to score next. Both Elliot Osborne and Elliott List had shots on target from inside the area, but on both occasions Port Vale’s Lucas Covolan was equal it.
Ten minutes later, Stevenage were level. Attacking Stevenage play and Port Vale fouls was much the story of the first half and was how the hosts got themselves back in the game. Jake Reeves drove forward before being taken down unapologetically by James Wilson 25 yards out. Up stepped Luke Norris, to drill the ball low and hard under the Port Vale wall and into the back of the net. Alex Revell’s men were level and deservedly so.
With five minutes to go before half-time, Stevenage went close again from a freekick. This time Ben Coker stood over the set piece, only to hit the outside of the post from the edge of the area. Stevenage will have felt aggrieved to go in at the break level, but with another 45 minutes to get maximum points from this game.
The visitors started the second half in a more positive manner, with James Wilson causing problems inside the Stevenage area without really testing the hands of Joseph Anang. Before the hour mark, Port Vale went close after working a free-kick well and short to Brad Walker, who could only fire over.
Arthur Read was welcomed back to the pitch after a spell on the side lines with injury, replacing Jamie Reid on the hour mark.
Stevenage then went close through Luke Prosser, getting on the end of Jake Reeves’ corner before his header was cleared off the line. Jake Taylor could only volley the rebound high and wide.
Port Vale had a penalty appeal turned down by Referee Sam Purkiss midway through the first half, as things started heating up both on and off the pitch.
Elliott List could only direct his header wide from Luke Norris’ cross, before the latter was substituted for James Daly with fifteen to play.
Both Ben Coker and Elliott List had efforts at goal with no success in the final ten minutes, as both sides continued to play to win all three points. Ross Marshall replaced Elliot Osborne in added time, as it finished all square in a game of two halves.
Attention now turns to Tuesday night, as Alex Revell’s men take on Wycombe Wanderers in the Second Round of the Carabao Cup.