Danny Rose scores 100th minute leveller to rescue a point for Stevenage in the West Midlands...
Steve Evans named two changes from the eleven that took three points from Stockport County last weekend, with Saxon Earley and Jamie Reid handed their first starts of the league campaign. Following his continued impressive displays to start the season, Earley hoped to cement his place in the starting line-up on loan from Norwich City.
After a start for Boro which saw Jamie Reid battling with Manny Monthe relentlessly and a Jake Reeves shot blocked from close range, it was Walsall who took the lead within the first fifteen minutes.
A Walsall attack down the right-hand side could only be cleared wide and a yard from the touchline, setting the hosts up with a potentially dangerous long throw. Dovervon Daniels managed to reach the six-yard box to cause confusion in the Boro area, ending with Danny Johnson to fire in from point blank range. Not the start Steve Evans’ men had hoped for but with plenty of time to get back into the game.
Immediately following the opener, Dan Sweeney went close to a leveller after getting his head on the end of Saxon Earley’s throw, only for Owen Evans to claim with little fuss.
Five minutes later, Boro had another chance to go level this time through Jamie Reid, meeting Luther James-Wildin’s low cross and forcing Evans down low to his left to keep Boro out.
Jamie Reid went close again moments later, but after cutting back on his right foot on the edge of the area, his effort was tame enough for the Saddlers’ stopper to collect.
It was no surprise to see a drinks break midway through the half in plus thirty degree heat, as Steve Evans looked to reset his team to find a way back into this tie.
Just before the break, Boro had the right to feel aggrieved after Jake Taylor looked to have been brought down inside the box. Despite appeals from the visiting players, coaching staff and supporters, Charles Breakspear took little interest in the protests as play continued.
A frustrating first half for Steve Evans’ men, with a big second period to come. At the break, Dean Campbell and Max Clark were introduced for Michael Bostwick and Saxon Earley as Boro had to shake things up to get anything from this game.
The changes created a positive start to the half for Stevenage who put the hosts on the backfoot from the restart, despite still finding clearcut chances hard to come by.
Donveron Daniels went close for Walsall who dragged his shot wide from distance, before Steve Evans made a further two changes with Danny Rose and Jordan Roberts introduced for Luke Norris and Jake Taylor.
Stevenage continued to see the majority of the ball, and the only way the hosts would score another would be through mistake of our own. With under half an hour to play, that was almost the case after a misplaced pass found Andy Williams and company on the counter attack, fortunately to no consequence as Danny Johnson poked wide.
A final throw of the dice came with the final quarter of the game to play as Arthur Read was introduced for Carl Piergianni as Boro moved to four at the back in a positive move.
After a marauding Dan Sweeney run towards the Walsall defence, he found Luther James-Wildin to get the ball into the highly populated penalty area. The cross found its way through to Dean Campbell to shoot but could only fire over the woodwork.
Arthur Read’s wide free-kick with less than five minutes to go was an enticing one aimed for the six yard box, but a strong hand from Evans kept the visitors at bay.
The huffing and puffing continued as Stevenage through everything at the game to find the all-important equaliser, and despite the eight minutes of added time, it seemed as if it wasn’t to be for Boro in the West Midlands.
The eight minutes were up, but Stevenage weren't done. A short throw from Luther James-Wildin to Arthur Read on the right flank set up the last hurrah for any Boro comeback. Read's left-footed inswinging cross was aimed towards the back post, and there was substitute Danny Rose to head home a 100th minute leveller to send the Boro faithful into absolute raptures. An incredible moment for a team that is just never giving up at the moment.
A memorable day out in the West Midlands, as attention now turns to Tuesday night Rochdale at The Lamex Stadium.
Attendance: 5,079 inc. 207 away.