Roll on the New Year...
In the last game of what has been an eventful year, Stevenage fell to a 1-0 defeat at Crawley as the team failed to take advantage of early Red Devils sending off.
There were two changes to the Starting XI from Boro’s Boxing Day game with Lincoln, as Fraser Franks and Ben Kennedy both made their way into the starting line-up for Terence Vancooten and Danny Newton.
The bench also saw the addition of academy graduates Ben Wilmot and Jamie Gray.
Both teams were looking to bounce back from Boxing Day defeats and that was clearly evident in the intensity of the play within the first 15 minutes of the match.
Crawley had the first clear-cut chance of the afternoon, which came through Enzio Boldewijn who managed to break through the Boro defence to have a one-on-one shot that went straight into the hands of Fryer.
However, the Red Devils continued their fast-paced football and were rewarded when Randall got a long shot off on the edge of the box, before Boldewijn was on guard to convert the deflection in the 31st minute and make it 1-0 to the home side.
Only several minutes later in the 34th minute, Josh Payne received a red card from referee John Busby after a treacherous tackle on Alex Samuel.
The sending off was certainly a catalyst of confidence for Darren Sarll’s men as they finished the half with more threat in their play but failed to equalise before the break.
The boys were right back on the front foot when they came out for the second half with two early penalty shouts from Ben Kennedy and Matty Godden, however John Busby waved off each claim.
A double change in the 60th minute with Pett and Whelpdale coming on for Henry and Gorman allowing more attacking players onto the pitch to try and find the breakthrough.
Despite having plenty of the ball throughout the game, a lack of quality in the final third was the story of the game as the Boro boys struggled to break down the home defence.
Stevenage made their third and final sub in the 74th minute as young forward Jamie Gray came on as we looked to increase our attacking presence.
With just 10 minutes to go the boys continued to look for an equaliser, but the Crawley defence was more than comfortable with everything that Boro could muster.
It took until the 87th minute for Stevenage to create their best chance of the game - a Whelpdale cross that fell perfectly for Matty Godden, but his headed effort was kept out by Morris.
Overall it was a tough result and performance to take for the Boro, but the boys will be back in action on Monday as we face Cheltenham at the Lamex in the first game of the New Year.
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