Boro fall short to Bradford City despite goals from Carl Piergianni and Dan Sweeney...
Stevenage looked to make it thirteen league games unbeaten this weekend as play-off chasing Bradford City arrived at The Lamex searching for three points of their own. Steve Evans made three changes from the tough draw away to Sutton the weekend prior, as Dan Sweeney returned to the backline, with Josh March and Jake Forster-Caskey coming in for their first Boro starts.
It was made very clear in the opening ten minutes that both sides were physical and up for a battle. Michael Bostwick sat in front of the centre-half duo of Carl Piergianni and Dan Sweeney for added protection against the Bantams’ forward line.
Bostwick seemed to be enjoying his time in midfield as he was in and amongst the battles in the middle of the park. The veteran had an opportunity on goal from outside the box after twenty minutes, but his effort deflected into the goalkeeper’s arms.
After twenty-five minutes, Stevenage took the lead against Mark Hughes’ Bradford. Jake Forster-Caskey’s corner found the towering head of Carl Piergianni who fired home to give his side the lead.
Boro remained on the front foot for the next ten minutes as Evans’ men appeared adamant to double their lead. Piergianni’s head met another ball from Forster-Caskey as he laid it off to Josh March inside the area who fired inches over the bar.
Bradford had a golden chance to equalise after a bright spell from Stevenage. Matt Derbyshire was sent through on goal but fired over the bar.
Just before half-time, Luther James-Wildin suffered a knock and was subsequently replaced by Jonathan Tomkinson who slot in at right-back. The referee then concluded the half to send Boro into the break with a one-goal advantage.
Just three minutes into the second-half, the visitors found their equaliser. Ex-Premier League striker Matt Derbyshire received the ball over the top of the defence and fired in off the bar.
Then, less ten minutes later, The Bantams were awarded a penalty. Big number nine, Andy Cook stepped up to take and fired into the bottom right corner past Jökull Andrésson to complete a quick-fire comeback. Thirty-five minutes remained.
Bradford were really bringing the game to Boro, but the match was far from over. Jordan Roberts whipped in a delightful cross to Josh March whose volley was superbly denied by Harry Lewis between the sticks.
With twenty minutes to play, Boro equalised, and The Lamex Stadium came back to life. Jake Forster-Caskey’s set-piece talent was on display as his corner, this time, found the head of Dan Sweeney who rose above everyone to level the scoring.
Stevenage were playing with confidence again after a slight blip and were determined to get a winner in the final ten minutes. Alex Gilbey skipped past two Bradford men on the edge of the area before turning to shoot, but his powerful effort was stopped by the Bantams’ keeper.
Steve Evans made his first substitutions of the afternoon with ten minutes to play as Luke Norris and Danny Rose replaced the strike partnership of Josh March and Jamie Reid.
With five minutes remaining, Bradford regained their lead. Andy Cook sent the ball through to Jamie Walker who slotted it into the bottom right corner. Evans then made his third change as Michael Bostwick was replaced by Jake Taylor.
In injury time, Jordan Roberts’ cross found Luke Norris at the front post whose headed effort was superbly kept out by The Bradford stopper. Boro were unable to trouble the Bantams defence again as the referee blew his final whistle to send Bradford home with the three points.