Stevenage succumbed to a last minute defeat at home to title-chasing Bury on Saturday after a promising performance that deserved so much more...
After 90 minutes of football where there was little to seperate the two sides, Bury's top scorer Nicky Maynard was first to react inside the box to head home deep into added time.
It was the fourth game in a row where Boro had either been the benfeficiaries or victims of last-minute drama and on this occasion, Stevenage were made to rue their own missed chances against an off-colour Bury.
Dino Maamria named just one change to the side that picked up a point at Oldham seven days earlier – Kurtis Guthrie coming in for Michael Timlin – an early hint at the positive game plan that was about to be put into action.
Indeed, it was Stevenage that got off to the stronger of starts – calm in possession whilst relentless when out. Moses Makasi had the first opportunity to put either side ahead, receiving a smart pull-back from Byrom inside the area but his first touch let him down and the ball was gobbled up by an opposition defender. Space opened up for James-Wildin a few minutes later as he burst into the box, but once again, it was the Stevenage’s players touch that allowed Bury to get across and make the challenge.
Bury hadn’t scored 70 goals this season for no reason and created their first chance of the game out of nothing, Nicky Maynard skewing his shot in-front of goal after being played in-over the top from one of his midfield teammates.
Makasi was at the centre of everything inside the first half but couldn’t open his body up to steer Chair’s low cross goalwards as Boro continued to boss the contest. Young Arthur Iontton was having the best game of his young Stevenage career to date, winning everything in midfield whilst remaining accurate and positive with his passing.
Almost all of Stevenage’s big chances were falling to Makasi and that continued as we approached added time. Stevenage’s strong press forcing the Shakers into a mistake at the back, which Makasi latched onto before driving at goal and forcing a fine stop from Murphy from the angle. The West Ham loanee had other options as teammates Revell and Chair were waiting for the pass across the six yard box.
Stevenage started the second half with the same intent that they started the first and a swift move between Revell, Chair and Makasi from right out the gates almost saw the latter find the former with a drilled pass across the box.
Bury were struggling to show the same form that has seen them go 12 games unbeaten, summed up by a rare shot coming in from O’Connell, firing one an ambitious volley from the edge of the box.
Ilias Chair, who wasn’t having his best game for the club and was struggling to find the target with his shots on the day, wasn’t fazed by the start he made to the game and continued to try his luck with a dipping volley that flew over the bar. Chances for Byrom and Revell soon followed, as Stevenage continued their good start to the half.
The Shakers soon got on top of the contest and enjoyed their best spell between the 60th and 70th minute. Despite their dominance with the ball, Farman was never truly tested though as Stevenage stood up to the defensive test.
Jordan Gibson and Mark McKee soon entered the game and within a matter of minutes, the chance of the game fell to Gibson who missed the target from 10 yards out, after being slipped through with just the keeper to beat.
With less than 10 minutes remaining, both sides went searching for a winner and deep into added time, it was Maynard and Bury that made the difference, sending the bench and travelling supporters wild as they hunt down the Sky Bet League Two title.