Scott Cuthbert’s first half header earned Stevenage all three points on a tough encounter at Boundary Park, to move into the top half of the table...
Alex Revell names the exact same starting eleven and substitutes from the victory over Barrow AFC on the weekend previous, as Luke Prosser kept his place partnering Scott Cuthbert due to Terence Vancooten’s international absence.
On a sunny Good Friday in Greater Manchester, the pitch was glowing as the wind whistled through the stands from the outer Peak District hills. It was almost a start as bright as the day for Stevenage, when Luke Norris battled his way through into the Oldham penalty area before his shot was saved by the feet of the hosts’ stopper Laurie Walker. Norris may feel slightly hard done by after taking a knock or two before taking aim, but the referee played advantage for a Stevenage corner.
Five minutes later, Oldham had their first sight of goal. Nicky Adams’ free-kick from the right was cleared by a Stevenage head but only as far as Davis Keillor-Dunn, who volleyed high into the stand behind Cumming’s goal.
On the quarter of an hour mark, Stevenage were millimetres from taking the lead. After persistent and relentless pressing from Tom Pett, the midfielder won himself a free-kick in a dangerous area just 20 yards from goal. Chris Lines’ took responsibility of the set-piece, and was agonisingly close from bagging his first for Boro as the ball brushed the side netting.
As the half continued, it looked as if the opener would come from either Elliott List or Luke Norris, who had spurned a number of half chances each but continued to look a threat. However, Captain Scot Cuthbert had other ideas. It was Norris and List combining which earned the corner, before Ben Coker’s delivery was met by the head of Cuthbert whose looping header fell in at the back post. A first for the skipper since the Portsmouth League Cup game in August, and Stevenage had got their deserved lead.
Minutes later, Luke Norris then dragged an effort wide from the corner of the box after being picked out in acres of space. Elliott List also had two more chances, but both times denied by some last ditch defending from the goalkeeper and centre half respectively.
Elliott List may feel he should have had a penalty after colliding with Kyle Jameson with five minutes of the half to play, but Alex Revell’s men could not have too much to complain about going in one up at the interval.
Within the first five minutes after the restart, Elliott List had two chances to double Boro’s advantage. Firstly, after getting on the end of Arthur Read’s well worked pass from wide List managed to get a shot away only for it to be saved comfortably by Walker. A minute later, List met Luther James-Wildin’s cross to spin and shoot, and Walker was equal to it again.
Oldham had a golden chance of their own ten minutes into the second half, when a booking for Ben Coker after a collision with Nicky Adams earned the hosts a free-kick from a wide position. Adams took and found Kyle Jameson, but the defender headed over from six yards.
The game continued and Oldham looked more and more a threat on the counter attack. Keillor-Dunn and McAleny combined before the ball fell to Ben Garrity on the edge of the box, who fired high and wide over the woodwork.
Ten minutes later, Elliott List and Luke Norris combined again to set the former through on goal, only to see his effort saved once again by Laurie Walker. List may feel he should have got his name on the scoresheet by now, but he continued to work hard and threaten the Oldham back line.
Alex Revell changed to five at the back with twenty minutes to play, as Joe Martin replaced Elliot Osborne.
With a game full of chances for Stevenage to create a two goal cushion, none so had been clear cut as a set-piece from 12 yards. After some tireless chasing from Arthur Read from the halfway line to the corner, the midfielder progressed into the box before being taken out by Kyle Jameson. The referee pointed to the spot, and Luke Norris took a hold of the ball. Laurie Walker had been impressive keeping the deficit at one so far in this game, as was not about to give up as he guessed the right way to keep out Norris’ strike. On the rebound the forward then struck the post, as the score remained a goal to nil.
Chances came and went for Elliott List and Joe Martin as the need for a second became more apparent with every minute the score remained the same. Luke Prosser’s header crashed against the crossbar over, while Alex Revell picked up a yellow for letting his frustrations get the better of him.
Matty Stevens was introduced for Elliott List with five minutes to play, and the change almost almost came up Millhouse instantly as the forward header over from Coker’s free-kick with his first touch.
In the end it was hard work without the second goal, but Stevenage took home from Oldham what they deserved, and that was all three points. Great Friday.