Respect the point...
Honours were even on Tuesday night in Burslem, as a positive performance ended in the points being shared as neither side could break the deadlock. Stevenage will feel they had the better of the chances, but any result away from home is better than none.
Alex Revell named four changes from the team that drew 1-1 with Walsall on Saturday, with Scott Cuthbert, Joe Martin, Remeao Hutton and Danny Newton coming in for Luke Prosser, Ben Coker, Luther James-Wildin and Luke Norris.
Scott Cuthbert started for Stevenage for the first time in exactly a month, with his last game being the 3-1 defeat at Exeter City last month.
In what was an electric start to the first half with both sides threatening with the pace of Elliott List and Devante Rodney up front, it surprisingly took fifteen minutes for the first real effort on goal.
As Stevenage broke away on the counterattack, Tom Pett and Elliot Osborne exchanged a neat one-two to progress the pitch, before the ball reached Jack Aitchison inside the box. Aitchison cut back onto his stronger right foot, only to see his shot on goal blocked by the Port Vale defence.
Minutes later, Stevenage went closer. Remeao Hutton, who was enjoying space high up the pitch on the right, put in an enticing low ball across the face of goal. It was a ball on a plate for any forward, but it was Vale’s Nathan Smith who almost turned it into his own net. Luckily for the hosts, Scott Brown reacted well to claw the ball off the line.
After a dominant first half an hour for Boro, Port Vale then had a golden chance of their own. The aforementioned Devante Rodney was Port Vale main outlet in the first half, and almost got the breakthrough when he was played through on goal from a deep Valiant pass. Rodney dithered on the ball giving time for Scott Cuthbert to recover, who then made the all-important tackle and denied Rodney any chance of putting the hosts ahead.
Following on from that, Stevenage had two half chances in the form of Tom Pett’s long distance attempt, and Joe Martin’s free kick. In a perfect position for the set piece specialist, Martin’s shot seemed to be sailing in but fell just wide of the near post.
Elliot Osborne and Danny Newton both had chances either side of an audacious Tom Conlon acrobatic attempt, but neither side could break the other down as the sides went in level at half-time.
Stevenage started the second half as they had enjoyed the first for large parts, keeping the ball and looking most like the team to score first. A couple of headers from Elliott List and Danny Newton kept the Port Vale defenders on their toes, but neither troubled Scott Brown between the sticks.
Midway through the first half, Stevenage were forced into their first substitution of the game. Having started a game for the first time in six games, Remeao Hutton’s cramp allowed Ben Coker to be introduced at right back.
With twenty minutes remaining, Stevenage were dealt a reminder that it was not going to be plain sailing defensive-wise for the rest of the game. Mistakes from Terence Vancooten and then Ben Coker allowed Cristian Montano space in the box to get a shot away, but the winger could only shoot way over the bar. A let-off for Stevenage.
Port Vale went close again with ten minutes to play. The hosts had seen more of the ball in the latter stages, and Stevenage almost paid the price for falling deeper as the clocked ticked on. After a block in the Boro box, the ball sat up nicely for Scott Burgess on the half volley, whose half volley fell inches wide of the far post.
Ex Stevenage man Kurtis Guthrie was introduced for the hosts with five minutes left to play, who was looking to score his first goal in all competitions since his penalty for Stevenage at Vale Park last season.
Neither Guthrie or the newly introduced Matty Stevens could find a way through for either team, as the spoils were shared at full-time. A respectable point on the road.