Town 1 Stevenage 0
Town: Chris Weale, Joe Jacobson, Dominic Iorfa, Jon Taylor (Dave Winfield 88), Aaron Wildig (Ryan Woods 71), Tamika Mkandawire, (c), Paul Parry, Connor Goldson, Tom Eaves, Bahrudin Atajic, Asa Hall
Subs: Joe Anyon, Shaun Miller, Tom Bradshaw, Sam Foley
Stevenage: Chris Day, Bira Dembele, Jon Ashton (c), Darius Charles (Tom Flanagan 45), Lucas Akins, Francois Zoko, Simon Heslop (Michael Doughty 29), Luke Freeman, Jimmy Smith, Curtis Obeng, Craig Reid
Subs: Jason Goodliffe, Phillipe Morais, Joe N’Guessan, Peter Hartley, Conor Henderson
Referee - Richard Clark
Assistant Referee 1 - Kevin Mattocks
Assistant Referee 2 - Keith Lawson
Fourth Official - Ollie Yates
Attendance: 5,178 (225)
Mike Jackson makes changes to the side that took to the field against Walsall last week, Chris Weale is back in goal as one of five changes. There are also starts for Jon Taylor, Paul Parry, Tom Eaves and Bahrudin Atajic .
It was a bright attacking start from Town who took the game to the visitors, there were a number of free-kicks in dangerous areas and a good low shot from Jon Taylor that bought a decent save from Chris Day in the Stevenage goal.
There was an early big decision for referee Clarke after Craig Reid slid in for a challenge with Aaron Wildig and appeared to go through the Town midfielder, the ref was quickly over and appeared to be going for a red card but took a while to assess the situation and finally produced a yellow card for the Stevenage man.
Stevenage were seeing a bit more of the ball and when they attacked they looked dangerous. They strung a good attack together but Mkandawire did well to intercept, he drove forward and kept going towards the Boro goal, he played it wide to Taylor who then moved it back into Tam who drove in a lovely shot from 30 yards out but Day in the Stevenage goal pulled off a great save. From the resulting corner Tom Eaves got a head to it at the back post but it went just wide of the target.
It was Town who were creating the best chances and another good break down the left saw the ball played into Atajic, he did well to turn his marker before being sent flying, the ref saw nothing wrong but Hall was alert to regain possession and play it Eaves who was in space in the box, he cut inside before driving in a good looking shot but a Stevenage body got in the way for an important block.
Chris Weale was having a quiet first half and it took until the 40th minute for him to be called into action, Akins showed good strength to cut inside and drive in a long range effort Weale down smartly to get his body being the ball.
Just before the break Stevenage fashioned another good chance after getting the ball to the byline, the ball was driven in low to the near post but Weale got down to block, the ball looped up but Taylor was there to hook the ball away. It was Stevenage who were finishing with the better of the attacking play and with minutes remaining across into the box found Akins with a header from 6 yards out but Weale was there to collect the ball.
Town nearly had the perfect start to the half with Atajic and Parry combining well to get the ball to Parry in the box, he had the space and was calm to wait for the ball to come down before hitting in a lovely shot which was destined for the top corner until Chris Day was there again with a superb save to tip the ball behind for a Town corner.
It became a little scrappy in the first 10 minutes with Boro trying to stop Town from playing, and succeeding at time, but Town kept going.
With just over 10 minutes of the half gone Town got their noses in front, it started with Eaves doing well to keep the ball and then chase down the defender, the ball went across the Boro goal and Iorfa collected, he pushed forward and then rolled the ball into the run of Jon Taylor who kept his cool to drive in a low shot that went under Day to give Town the lead.
Town were buoyed by the goal and they were creating some good openings with Jon Taylor, Paul Parry and Tom Eaves all having good sights on the Stevenage goal. The best a good run from Tom Eaves after he and Taylor had shown strength to tussle to following a quick Weale goal kick and gain possession, it was Eaves who came out with the ball and he drove in on the Boro goal and smashed in a great low shot but again Day was there to save Stevenage with a great save.
Mike Jackson made his first switch on 71 minutes with Ryan Woods coming on to replace Aaron Wildig who had run himself into the ground and taken a number of knocks during his time on the pitch. Then 6 minutes later he made his second change with Sam Foley coming on to replace Bahrudin Atajic.
As in the first half Stevenage were having good chances to get on the score sheet, Chris Weale was getting himself into the positions to make the blocks with a number of saves to keep Boro and bay, and when he couldn't the defence were there to clear up.
With 7 minutes remaining Town were down to 10 men after Asa Hall making an attempting challenging and catching the Stevenage player, to pick up his second yellow card of the afternoon.
Mike Jackson made another switch of the afternoon bringing on Dave Winfield to replace Jon Taylor, then the fourth official put up the board to show 7 minutes of added time much to the derision of the 5,000 Town fans in the Greenhous Meadow.
Town were under a lot of pressure as Stevenage threw everything they had at the homeside, but they held strong. Dominic Iorfa could have topped it off with a goal after showing good strength to close down and block the ball, he showed great strength pace to hold off his marker and then have a one on one in on the Boro goal, he hit in a low shot but once again Chris Day was there to save Boro with an low block.
Full-time: Town 1 Stevenage 0