Stevenage pick up a well-earned point in Cumbria...
Stevenage made the extremely long trip North to face fellow promotion hopefuls Carlisle who, before the match, sat two points behind Boro in the fight for automatic promotion. Steve Evans made just the one change from Tuesday’s victory at home to Crewe as Jamie Reid replaced the injured Jordan Roberts.
The opening five minutes were reasonably open with both sides looking to go for it and break the deadlock. Jamie Reid, playing wider than usual, carried the ball forward before having the first shot of the game, but his low driven effort from range trickled past the post.
Ten minutes later, Carlisle’s Owen Moxon noticed Jon McCracken off his line and attempted to chip the goalkeeper from just past the halfway line, but his effort didn’t have enough power on it as McCracken caught with ease.
The Cumbrians regained possession of the ball just outside the area minutes later, with the ball falling nicely for Jack Armer who tried his luck but fired wide of the mark.
The hosts were piling on the pressure before the half-hour mark and even had the ball in the back of the net through Joe Garner’s tap-in, but the linesmen raised his flag for offside to keep the score level.
Jake Taylor went down with a knock minutes later and was subsequently replaced by Jake Forster-Caskey in midfield.
Carlisle returned on the offence once again five minutes before the break, with a dangerous cross being sent into the box, but Kane Smith superbly headed the danger away.
Boro continued to defend well for the remainder of the half as they withstood the pressure and went into the break with the deadlock yet to be broken.
Steve Evans’ men began the second half brightly as they looked to take the lead immediately. Luke Norris held the ball up well before picking out Alex Gilbey on the edge of the area, who took a touch and fired inches wide.
Gilbey was awarded another opportunity moments later as he raced forward to receive the ball, but again fired just wide. Stevenage were on the front foot at this stage and came close again with Dan Sweeney striking past the post from a corner.
With twenty minutes remaining, Dan Sweeney brought down his man just outside the area and was booked. From the resulting free-kick, Carlisle opted to go short, but it came to nothing.
Steve Evans made his second substitution of the afternoon five minutes later, with Michael Bostwick coming on for Josh March who went down with a knock. Bostwick slotted into midfield as Jamie Reid and Luke Norris played up top.
Michael Bostwick looked to make an immediate impact from midfield as he drove forward with the ball before striking powerfully towards goal, but his effort flew past the post.
With under ten minutes to go, Boro came ever so close to taking the lead as Jamie Reid played it into Luke Norris, but the ball was snatched from under him just before he could slot it home. Then, up the other end, Kristian Dennis looked to be through on goal, but Jon McCracken was quick off his line to clear the danger.
The Fourth Official held up five minutes of added time as the score remained goalless. Neither goalkeeper was tested as both sides defended well. Jon McCracken’s free-kick was the last kick of the game as Boro went home with a well-earned point.
Stevenage return to The Lamex Stadium next Saturday as they face another promotion hopeful in Salford City.