Town v Stevenage
Town: Chris Weale, Joe Jacobson, Luke Summerfield, Darren Jones, Gozie Ugwu, Tamika Mkandawire (c), Paul Parry, Cameron Gayle (Dave McAllister 45), Ryan Woods, Adam Reach, Tom Eaves (Liam McAlinden 79)
Subs: Joe Anyon, Dave Winfield, Tom Bradshaw, Alex McQuade, John Marsden
Stevenage: Chris Day, Jon Ashton (c), Luke Jones, Filipe Morais (Rorie Deacon 70), Lucas Akins, Francois Zoko, Simon Heslop (Jordan Burrow 70), Luke Freeman, Jimmy Smith, Michael Doughty, Bruno Andrade (Dumare Tounkara 78)
Subs: Steve Arnold, Sam Wedgbury, Dean Parrett, Greg Tansey
Ref: Carl Berry
Assistants: Geoffrey Russel and Graham Kane
Fourth official: Matt Foley
Attendance: 2675 (255)
Graham Turner makes three changes from the side that lost 2-1 to Oldham Athletic on Tuesday night with Tom Eaves, Cameron Gayle and Ryan Woods coming in to replace Nicky Wroe, Liam McAlinden and Connor Goldson. Cameron Gayle comes in at right-back which means Ryan Woods moves into his preferred position in the centre of midfield. Nicky Wroe is the unlucky loan player to miss out doe to the rule which only allows five loan players to be on the team sheet.
It was a pretty even opening with both sides getting the ball down and looking to take the early advantage. Stevenage were big and strong getting the ball forward quickly but the Town back line were looking up to the challenge. At the other end Town were creating some good attacking openings, the first when a quick break saw Ugwu find space down the middle before pushing play wide to Paul Parry, he whipped in a lovely low ball across the face of goal but it was a fraction early for Ugwu who was sliding in on goal, and moments later Ugwu again showed good skills to find the space for the shot.
Parry and Ugwu were combining well when Town broke quickly and another great delivery from Paul Parry found Ugwu again making the run in on goal, he connected nicely but a Stevenage body got in the way to deflect his shot behind for a Town corner.
With 20 minutes on the clock it was Town who were having the better of the attacking play. Tom Eaves was looking dangerous on his return too Town and when a long throw dropped in the Boro box Eaves showed good strength to hold off his marker and then find the space to turn and get a shot in on goal, but didn't connect cleanly and it was an easy take for Chris Day.
Stevenage had been showing a little bit more as an attacking force and they managed to grab the lead on 24 minutes, the ball was on the right hand side and a strong shot came in which beat the dive of Weale, it hit the inside of the post and there was Zoko lurking to tap the ball home before Mkandawire could react.
Boro were buoyed by the goal and were looking more of an attacking force but Town were still creating good chances to get back on level terms. A Boro attack was snubbed out and Summerfield came away with the ball, he continued his run through the midfield and then thread a great ball to put Tom Eaves in on goal, he hit a good first time shot but Day was over quickly to get an important block in.
Town deservedly were back on level terms on 35 minutes following great work from Summerfield and a calm finish from Reach, Summerfield again came out of midfield with the ball and broke cross field, he held his markers off before playing in a lovely ball to Adam Reach who had timed his run into the box perfectly and he calmly chipped the ball to give put Town on level terms.
Town continued to push and attack and 4 minutes later got their noses in front with another well worked goal. Again Summerfield was involved with good play in the middle, he pushed the ball out to Parry who whipped in a lovely hanging cross to the back post where Tom Eaves found the space to head home and give Town the lead.
Town were continuing to create and with the game in added time Paul Parry nearly added a third, good work in the midfield ended with Woods played a lovely ball out to Parry's run into the box, he curled in a shot cum cross to the back post that dropped just wide of the target.
Town start the half with a change that sees Dave McAllister replace Cameron Gayle with Ryan Woods dropping to right-back.
There chance for both sides at the start of the half but it was Town who came off the better. Tom Eaves was again causing problems and forcing a corner after smashing in an effort from the edge of the box that brought a good save out of Day. The corner was whipped over by Parry and dropped at the back post, Reach clipped the ball back in and there was Jacobson to force a header home and make it 3-1 to Town.
The third goal had knocked Boro a little and had calmed Town's nerves which meant the visitors were being much calmer on the ball. Town were continuing to create chances and take the game to the home side which was keeping the pressure off the Town goal.
Just before the 65 minute mark Town had a great chance for a fourth goal after a great attacking move that ended with a lovely ball for Joe Jacobson to run onto in the box, he smashed in a great low shot but again Chris Day was equal to it with a great block.
At the other end Stevenage were still looking dangerous around the Town goal and when a corner was swung over Weale came to punch, he connected but the second ball was chipped over him towards the empty goal but Jacobson had tracked back and was there to clear off the line.
Graham Turner made a second change on 79 minutes with Liam McAlinden coming on to replace Tom Eaves who has had a good game and run himself into the ground.
Town had moment to worry when the linesman adjudged Adam Reach to have hand balled near the Boro box, the home fans and players were calling for a penalty but ref Berry in the end pointed for a free-kick on the edge of the Town box. It looked in a dangerous position but in the end the Town defence was strong and the danger was gone.
With 3 minutes of the game remaining Graham Turner made his final change of the afternoon bringing on Dave Winfield to replace Gozie Ugwu, who has put in a great shift and covered a lot of the Lamex Stadium pitch during the game.