Unimpressive Stevenage beaten by Brentford

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A Stevenage side largely unimpressive in attack drew a blank against Brentford at The Lamex Stadium, losing 1-0 thanks to a Robbie Simpson header.

Boss Graham Westley made several changes to the team that drew with Aldershot on Saturday, with Joel Byrom coming in for Robbie Sinclair who was demoted to the bench and Charlie Griffin and Darius Charles being replaced by Peter Winn and Scott Laird respectively.

In a first half of few real chances, Mark Roberts’ early header was palmed away unconvincingly by keeper Richard Lee, and John Mousinho’s guided headed attempt was saved easily. However, on the whole Stevenage were restricted mainly to long range efforts and counter attacks as Brentford made it difficult for them to get a foothold in the game.

Shots from distance from Byrom, Mousinho, Yemi Odubade and Michael Bostwick all failed to hit the target, while the Bees were the more dominant side and caused problems for the Stevenage defence; the direct running of the pacey Myles Weston andNicky Adams down the wings exposing Scott Laird and Ronnie Henry’s slight lack of pace.

On twenty-eight minutes Nicky Adams evaded Laird, making space to curl a cross into the middle from the right hand side, with the threatening Robbie Simpson flicking a free header past Chris Day and into the bottom corner.

Brentford could have scored a second later on when a poor back-header by Laird was intercepted by Adams who collided with Day but was pushed wide by the defence with the goal empty. The cross came in and luckily for Boro the shot was over the bar.

In the second half, Stevenage started much more solidly and dictated the tempo while trying to get back into the game. In a ten minute period of dominance, a low shot from Odubade, a snap shot fromJoel Byrom and a Bostwick drive were all saved by Bees keeper Richard Lee.

The best chance fell to Odubade who swiped wildly at a bouncing ball eight yards out and sent it flying over the bar, frustrating the fans. Boro’s rhythm was disrupted when disaster struck for striker Chris Beardsley, who collided with the keeper when trying to win a header and landed heavily, suffering an arm which forced him off.

His replacement Tim Sills’ curling shot from distance was high and wide as the game started to peter out. Towards the end of the game, Stevenage were increasingly resigned to attempting long cross-field balls to work an opening but to little effect.

Although at times Stevenage were the better side and will be disappointed not to have at least taken the game to extra time.

They again lacked a cutting edge needed to put the ball in the back of the net and paid for it. Also, there’s no ignoring the fact that in six games so far this season, Stevenage haven’t kept a single clean sheet. The longer this continues, the more agitated fans will get.

Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.

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