Stevenage were made to settle for a goalless draw at home to Port Vale on Tuesday night as spurned chances meant for a frustrating evening at the Lamex Stadium.
It’s another point to the season’s tally but this will have felt like two points dropped considering the way the game played out.
The Manager named two changes to the side that lost out to Crewe Alexandra at the weekend, bringing back in Luke Wilkinson and Emmanuel Sonupe for the suspended Ben Nugent and Ben Kennedy.
Right from the off, the pattern of the evening was set. Stevenage were on the front-foot whilst Vale sat back looking to soak up the pressure. James-Wildin should have put Boro ahead inside just two minutes after he raced into the oppositions box before cutting in on his unfavoured left foot and blazing wide.
Guthrie saw a header saved a few moments later and 15 minutes in, Stevenage saw their clearest chance of the game come off the woodwork. After racing onto a poor back-pass across the back-four, Revell found himself one-on-one with the goalkeeper. After a neat first touch to take it past him, the striker could only hit the post from a tight angle, spurning a glorious opportunity to go ahead. It was all one-way traffic inside the opening period.
Tom Pope, a doubt coming into the game, was struggling to make an impact but he managed to work enough space to squeeze a shot away on 35 minutes, moving away from Cuthbert before firing over from a narrow angle.
Guthrie, often leading the charge, was finding joy on the counter-attack but that last pass, decision or run wasn’t quite coming off for Maamria’s men as the game went into the break with no goals for either side.
Early in the second half and there Stevenage suffered their biggest scare. After Deng lost control of the ball whilst under immense pressure from a Vale corner, the ball spilled out to an attacker who was then denied by Deng, before the follow-up was cleared away by the ever-alert Cuthbert.
Stevenage hit back but Guthrie failed to pick out Revell after chasing down a Port Vale clearance – both strikers with heads in their hands as another clear-cut opportunity went begging.
Campbell-Ryce was putting on another impressive outing from out-wide and with just over an hour left, he came agonisingly close to pick out Guthrie at the back-post after twisting and turning his man from just inside the box.
Vale were an improved outfit in the second half and had a couple of decent opportunities themselves to hit the net. Miller missing the target twice in quick succession as the Valiants began to find joy down the left hand side, both times the striker peeling off his man inside the box to receive the cut-back, his finishes not quite up to scratch.
James Ball replaced Sonupe with 20 minutes to play as the feeling of desperation heightened around the Lamex Stadium. The Vale defence were up to the task and proving stubborn opposition. A clever corner routine saw two shots blocked inside the penalty area as it looked like it wouldn't be Boro's day.
There was a positive to end the evening, 17 year old First Year scholar, Liam Smyth came on for JCR to make his league debut following his stunning hat-trick scoring performance in the Herts Senior Cup a week ago.
Despite their best efforts, Stevenage couldn’t break through as attention switches to Saturday’s away trip to Cheltenham Town.