Stevenage forced to settle for one goal win despite chances aplenty against a youthful Crystal Palace side…
It took until the final quarter of an hour before Stevenage found a way through the resilient Crystal Palace, thanks to an own goal created by Luther James-Wildin.
Alex Revell named a strong starting eleven as Stevenage welcomed fans back to The Lamex for the first time since December 2020.
Joseph Anang started between the sticks behind a back four of Ben Coker, Luke Prosser, Ross Marshall and Luther James-Wildin, while Jake Reeves and Jake Taylor played in the deep midfield role just in front.
James Daly and Jamie Reid were supported up top by Elliot Osborne and a Trialist just behind.
Donning the new Amazon Prime Gaming home kit for the first time, Stevenage started the brighter of the two teams – most notably Luther James-Wildin getting forward from right back.
Ten minutes in, and Palace were down to ten men. Jamie Reid got the better of last man Jake O’Brien, who saw red after pulling down Boro’s new forward. Elliot Osborne had the chance to capitalise on the numerical advantage immediately, only to fire his free-kick straight at Remi Matthews in the Crystal Palace goal.
Down the other end, Jesurun Rak-Skyi weaved his way through into the Stevenage box before taking aim, but Joseph Anang was equal to it easily enough.
As Palace came forward, space was available for Stevenage to counter at pace. James Daly continued to look a threat throughout the entirety of the first half, and almost gave Stevenage the lead when his low driven shot from inside the box was stopped by the feet of Matthews.
It was then Jamie Reid’s turn to go close to giving Stevenage the lead. After latching onto a loose ball on the edge of the area, the ex-Mansfield man blasted his effort just past the post.
Rak-Skyi looked to be Palace’s main danger man, but a last-ditch sliding challenge from Ross Marshall denied the attacker another sight of goal with ten minutes left of the half.
With five minutes before the break, Jamie Reid again had a shot at goal after doing well to make room for himself inside the area, but Matthews was equal to it once again.
Half-time came and the score was level even though the number of players was not.
Palace made a whole host of changes at the break, while Alex Revell decided to stick with the same eleven at the restart.
Stevenage continued to dominate with half chances for Jake Reeves and James Daly, but the young Eagles were defending deep and defending well.
On the hour mark, Jamie Reid had Stevenage’s chance of the game so far. After being played through on goal by a trialist, Reid had only the goalkeeper to beat. A fierce shot to the left hand corner, and somehow the Palace stopper pulled off a magnificent save to keep the score level.
Elliot Osborne and Jamie Reid again had chances to give the hosts the lead, before Alex Revell made eight changes with 25 minutes left to play.
Scott Cuthbert, Terence Vancooten, Chris Lines, Mackye Townsend-West, Yasin Arai and three trialists were introduced as Stevenage kept knocking on the Palace door.
The change almost paid dividends within minutes, after a trialist won a free-kick on the edge of the box – Chris Lines then struck the crossbar from the resulting set piece.
With fifteen minutes to go, Stevenage had their lead – and from the most unlikely of sources. After Luther James-Wildin’s cross fizzed across the face of goal, the Crystal Palace defender could not deal with it and turned the ball into his own net. The newly introduced trialist may take credit after putting in the pressure, regardless the hosts were in front.
Academy graduates Sam Dreyer and Alfie Williams were introduced with ten minutes left as the clocked ticked towards the ninety-minute mark.
The referee blew his whistle as Stevenage earned the win despite the feeling it could have been by more.
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