Stevenage stun Premier League side Aston Villa in the FA Cup after two late goals from Jamie Reid and Dean Campbell...
Stevenage made the trip to the famous Villa Park as Premier League opposition, Aston Villa, stood in the way of a place in the Fourth Round of the FA Cup. Steve Evans made just one change from the last league match as Jake Taylor replaced Alex Gilbey.
Boro lined up with the usual back three of Sweeney, Vancooten and Piergianni in front of Ashby-Hammond between the sticks. James-Wildin and Clark occupied the wing-back roles either side of a midfield duo of Reeves and Taylor. Roberts played in an advanced midfield position behind the strike partnership of Norris and Rose.
Boro held their own in the first ten minutes with Villa unable to carve out a clear-cut chance. Philippe Coutinho tried his luck from outside the area, but his effort sailed way wide of the post.
The Premier League side saw the majority of the ball, as expected, with the first shot on-target going their way. Douglas Luiz rifled in a low drilled effort, but Taye Ashby-Hammond caught it superbly to deny.
After seventeen minutes, Boro caught the entirety of Villa Park by surprise as Danny Rose had the ball in the back of the net, before the linesman raised his flag for offside. After a VAR check, it was clear that Luke Norris was in an offside position before crossing to Rose.
Boro had a decent spell of possession after the offside goal, but it was Villa who created the next chance. Philippe Coutinho cut in on his favoured right foot, but his effort was deflected by Jake Taylor and into the hands of Taye Ashby-Hammond.
Just after the half-hour mark, the hosts took the lead. The pressure was building in and around the Stevenage area as Danny Ings played in Morgan Sanson who calmly slotted the ball past Ashby-Hammond to open the scoring.
Seven minutes later, there were huge appeals for a penalty to Stevenage as Luke Norris appeared to have been tripped up in the area, but the referee quickly dismissed these appeals.
Just moments later, Norris produced a bit of magic and was almost able to celebrate a wonder-goal. The number nine cut in on his right foot before trying his luck from outside the box, but his curling effort clipped the crossbar and went over.
Although Stevenage went into the break a goal down, there could be very little complaints from the League Two side after a competitive first half.
Villa came flying out the blocks after the interval and immediately put Stevenage under some real pressure. Douglas Luiz and Philippe Coutinho both tried their luck from outside the box, but neither could get their shot on target.
Ten minutes into the second half, Stevenage began to see more of the ball as they dreamed of an equaliser. Luther James-Wildin skipped past two men as he laid it off to Jordan Roberts who cut the ball onto his left, but his effort was deflected out for a corner.
Just after the hour mark, Steve Evans introduced his first substitutions of the match as Jamie Reid and Dean Campbell replaced Danny Rose and Max Clark. Then, Villa had a golden chance to double their lead as Callum Chambers was lurking at the back post but tapped his shot wide from point-blank range.
Two more substitutions were brought on soon after, with David Amoo and Kane Smith replacing Jake Taylor and Luke Norris. Jake Reeves had a chance to shoot moments after, but his effort from the edge of the box was drilled just wide of the mark.
Boro had managed to get to the closing stages of the match just one goal down, and with a glimmer of hope against their Premier League opponents. With five minutes to go, Boro were awarded a penalty to the delight of the incredible travelling support. Dendoncker received a red card for tripping Dean Campbell inside the box.
Jamie Reid stepped up to take in front of a noisy Villa crowd and calmly sent the goalkeeper the wrong way to equalise late on for the underdogs. The Stevenage supporters were having the time of their lives as just a few minutes remained.
The match was far from over as Stevenage won themselves a corner just before additional time. Instead of whipping in a cross, Jake Reeves played it short to Dean Campbell who moved the ball forward and blasted the ball low and hard into the back of the net to send the away end into mayhem. League Two Stevenage had stunned the whole of English Football with a miraculous comeback against former European Champions.
Celebrations continued long after the final whistle as Boro had pulled off one of the best results in not just the club’s history, but the FA Cup’s history.
Stevenage will travel to Stoke City in the Fourth Round.