SOS: Same Old Story at Stevenage...
Saturday 23rd September 2017 1500 hrs
Morecambe had never won a game against Stevenage in seven matches before they finally got that particular monkey off their backs last April with a one-nil victory at Broadhall Way. They returned there today to face a team that was eleventh in the League Two table, five places and three points better off than the Shrimps before the game.
Darren Sarll`s side received a warning that the visitors meant business after just two minutes when Garry Thompson made progress down the Morecambe left and slipped a dangerous ball across the penalty area which Aaron Wildig was just unable to connect with. Michael Rose then split the Boro defence with a tremendous pass but Kevin Ellison was unable to take advantage of it and shot wide before the Morecambe Captain tried his own luck with a superb strike which went narrowly over the bar with barely ten minutes on the clock. Boro showed their own intent with four minutes played when Ben Kennedy played-in Matty Godden only for the latter to put his shot the wrong side of the post. Not a lot happened for the home team after that until the thirteenth minute, when the same two players combined again only for Godden to shoot over the bar this time. The nearest anyone came to scoring was after 21 minutes when Ellison chased a lost cause but managed to put in a savage shot from a tight angle which Joe Fryer in the home goal did very well to keep out. But it turned-out to be third time lucky for Matty Godden when he was played-in again (by Tom Pett this time) after 25 minutes to beat Barry Roche in the away goal with a well-placed shot on the run. Godden then turned provider four minutes later and fed Danny Newton who was unlucky to see his header bounce back off the Morecambe post only for Roche to pull off a fine save low to his right from the rebound. Having ridden their luck, though, the visitors hit back with just over a half an hour played when Steven Old registered his first ever goal for the Shrimps with a fine header from Rose`s precise free-kick. With Adam McGurk having to come off due to what looked like it might be a hamstring injury after 42 minutes, Vadaine Oliver made a welcome return to Morecambe`s forward line following suspension due to the harsh red card against Accrington at the beginning of the month.
It ended one each at half time and Boro had the first chance of the second period when Jonathan Smith tried but just failed to play-in Godden once more after four minutes. Home skipper Ronnie Henry burst into the Morecambe area after 55 minutes but the move came to nothing. As the home side started to increase the pressure, Godden forced Roche into another good save after an hour only for the visitors to rush up to the other end of the field and put the ball in the net only for Referee John Busby to rule it out for a foul on the goalkeeper. Kyle Wootton then made his first appearance for Boro as he came on as a substitute for Newton after 64 minutes and immediately made his mark by scoring a second for Stevenage with virtually his first touch of the ball. Although Pett had an effort cleared off the Morecambe line after 73 minutes, the team from Lancashire didn`t give up and Henry saved the day for Boro with a last-ditch tackle on Oliver as he was about to strike the ball at an virtually open goal with just fifteen minutes left and both Wildig and Rose sent efforts over the ball in the final ten minutes whilst Aaron McGowan forced a good save from Fryer from about 25 yards and the goalkeeper was forced into a miraculous save to keep out an Oliver header to keep Morecambe`s hopes alive during the closing stages. In injury time, the Boro defence somehow or other managed to keep the ball out of the net following a scramble on the line but they managed to withstand the Shrimps` increasing onslaught at the end of the game.
So it turned out to be the same old story in the end: Stevenage beat Morecambe despite the best efforts of the New Zealand centre half of the same name. The loss means that the Shrimps fall to eighteenth in the division: Stevenage go up to ninth.
Stevenage: 1 Joe Fryer; 20 Terence Vancooten; 25 Ronnie Henry (C); 5 Fraser Franks; 3 Joe Martin; 10 Ben Kennedy; 17 Dale Gorman (Y); 2 Jonathan Smith; 11 Tom Pett; 24 Matthew Godden (15 Alex Samuel 84 mins); 19 Danny Newton (9 Kyle Wootton 64 mins).
Subs not used: 16 Chris Day; 22 Kevin Toner; 8 Harry Beautyman; Tom Conlon; 7 Chris Whelpdale.
Morecambe: 1 Barry Roche; 22 Max Muller; 5 Steven Old; 2 Aaron McGowan; 3 Patrick Brough; 4 Alex Kenyon (29 Callum Lang 60 mins); 24 Michael Rose (C); 15 Aaron Wildig; 7 Garry Thompson (Y); 11 Kevin Ellison; 28 Adam McGurk (9 Vadaine Oliver 42 mins).
Substitutes not used: 12 Danijel Nizic; 17 Mitchell Lund; 16 Sam Lavelle; 10 Adam Campbell; 21 Elliot Osborne.