A tough time on the road...
For Stevenage’s penultimate pre-season friendly, Dino Maamria took his squad to Berkshire for the encounter with Maidenhead United.
As the league season grew closer, Boro’s starting XI continued to develop an identity with a more recognised group of players. Paul Farman started in between the sticks, with a back five of Luther James-Wildin, Terence Vancooten, Arthur Iontton, Ben Nugent and Tyler Denton. Dean Parrett, Charlie Carter and Kurtis Guthrie made up the rest of the team, along with two trialists.
Kicking off in 32-degree heat, a slow, deliberate start was expected. Maidenhead proved a well organised unit, with plenty of experience in their ranks.
Stevenage’s first clear-cut chance of the game came on the twenty-minute mark, after a lofted Dean Parrett corner found Kurtis Guthrie’s feet at the back post. The visitors would have been in front if it was not for some brave defending from Joe Ellul who threw his body in front of Guthrie’s powerful strike.
The hosts, however, were never going to sit back against their Football League opponents. Magpies’ midfielder Danny Whitehall tried his luck with a driven half-volley from the edge of the box, but Paul Farman stood firm and did well to parry the shot wide of his goal.
After having the weekend off supporting his sister Serena at the Netball World Cup in Liverpool, Kurtis Guthrie looked to mark his return to the Stevenage line-up with a goal. A looping through pass from a trialist found the striker on the penalty spot, but the Maidenhead goalkeeper was equal to the tame effort.
Half-time was welcomed by both sides, in what was a fiery first half.
As per this pre-season, the break saw a number of substitutions from Maamria. Jack Smith and Luis Fernandez entered the fold, as the two youngsters looked to continue to impress.
Just before the hour mark, Stevenage were behind. Danny Whitehall’s free-kick from 20 yards was a peach of a strike, and gave the newly introduced trialist goalkeeper little chance.
Seconds later, it was almost two for the National League side. A looped cross had beaten the Stevenage stopper, but Luis Fernandez was there on the line to head away and keep the score at one.
With twenty minutes to go, Stevenage had arguably chance of the game. Kurtis Guthrie had drifted out wide to find the ball, before crossing into Danny Newton inside the six yard box. Newton knocked the ball down to the late run of Jack Smith, whose side-footed effort was well blocked by a last ditch Maidenhead tackle.
The game then petered to an end, as the Magpies stood defiant for the victory.