An enthralling match saw Stevenage come out winners as they squared up to Burton Albion in a game that saw cards, tackles and scraps galore.
Graham Westley deployed the same team that had dominated against Rotherham a week ago, with Holroyd continuing to keep the likes of Griffin and Odubade out of the side with his prolific goalscoring.
The match saw Stevenage immediately make a chance, with Stacy Long ensuring that the keeper was concentrating with a low drive. Although not claimed convincingly, Legzdins kept it out.
Just a few minutes later, another good move saw Holroyd glance the ball on to Winn on the left. His left-footed cross was headed back across goal by Bostwick and looked to be heading into the path of the already lively Holroyd when an obvious push in the back from Ryan Austin had the referee pointing to the spot. The on-loan man stepped up only to see a weak penalty saved well down low by the keeper.
Things were already starting to get heated when Lewis Young went down in a heap despite no contact having been made by Boro skipper Mark Roberts in a mistimed challenge. Surrounded by angry players from both teams, Young received lengthy treatment before returning to play. The Brewers’ Richard Walker was also carded for an off the ball kick at John Ashton.
Midway through the half, a rash lunging challenge from Adam Boulder in front of the Boro bench led to a 21-man shoving match; the only player not involved was Ashton, who required treatment. With the crowd half expecting red cards to be dished out to Holroyd and Bolder who had immediately wrestled each other to the ground with fists flailing, the referee decided eventually to be lenient, yellow carding the pair.
Soon after, a burst into the area by the outstanding Lawrie Wilson saw him body-checked by the defender; although the referee initially gave nothing, the linesman flagged and penalty regular Scott Laird coolly fired high into the middle of the goal.
It should have been two when a corner wasn’t cleared and Jon Ashton shot through a crowd of players only to see the ball crash back off the bar and to safety over the heads of everyone in the area.
The second half saw Boro pegged back quickly. Poor marking made it all too easy for Aaron Webster to control and finish low past the sprawling Day from 15 yards. A double substitution from Boro saw the struggling Roberts and Winn replaced by Odubade and Foster.
Shortly after, a great run and piece of skill on the right by Wilson gave him the opportunity to lift a cross into the box which was slightly behind Holroyd. However, the striker wasn’t to be perturbed from trying and his bicycle kick flew in past the helpless keeper.
It was a fantastic goal and one that buoyed Boro. Odubade should have sealed it when played clean through by Holroyd but shot wide and a nice passage of play from Long saw Bostwick try from his preferred distance but hit wide.
Disaster struck on 70 minutes when Foster was shown a straight red card when the legs of Bolder, through on goal, seemed to fail him and Foster took the blame from the referee. Bolder’s free kick was turned past the post impressively by Day.
Substitute Odubade was in turn substituted as cover for Foster was introduced in the shape of Darius Charles, who helped Stevenage see the game through to the end without much more drama.
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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