Rebels Receive Six Goal Spanking From Stevenage

Slough Town

Slough Town

Fiore (63)
Stevenage Borough

Stevenage Borough

Kirby (3), Hayles (23), Catlin (40), Beevor (52, 71), Browne (70)
League Attendance: 1298 Grant Eaton
The drums were back after being banned at Woking and Mark Fiore scored his first goal of the season, but that was the only New Year cheer at Wexham Park on Wednesday when the Rebels suffered a six-goal spanking - their heaviest defeat of the season.

For the second game in a row they were a poor second to a side who managed to master difficult conditions - both mentally and physically. Stevenage were adventurous, imaginative and effective from the start while Slough were unable to coordinate, stumbling in defence and failing to pack any sort of punch when they did go forward.

As early as the third minute Boro had Paul Wilkerson struggling to tip a cheeky Mark Smith shot from the half way line over the bar to safety. Respite was brief, for Wilkerson came for the ball from the comer and missed, leaving full back Ryan Kirby to net the rebound after Efetobor Sodje's header had hit the underside of the bar.

But Wilkerson was not to blame for the two other goals Stevenage scored before half time. A mix-up between Gary McGinnis and Rob Smith in the 23rd minute allowed ex-Rebel Neil Catlin in. Catlin's shot struck the upright, but Barry Hayles forced the ball home from three yards.

And Robbie Mutchell stole the ball as the Rebels attempted to clear their lines five minutes before the break and chipped elegantly to Corey Browne whose shot was parried this time towards Catlin who made doubly sure it went over the line.

The only shot of the half on target for the Rebels came in the 17th minute when a long throw from Grant Eaton - in the starting line-up for the very first time - was fed to Simon Stapleton close in, but a weak header went straight into Des Gallagher's arms.

The Rebels rose only once to the majestic heights displayed by Sodje, the son of a Nigerian tribal chief, who cleaned up everything at the back and then triggered many of Boro's attack. He sent Hayles clear with a massive clearance five minutes after the interval and it needed Wilkerson to stretch to 10 feet tall to push the attempted lob to safety.

But Wilkerson's tendency to wander off his line was punished in the 52nd minute by Stuart Beevor's fierce volley from 25 yards out which went over the Slough keeper's head and into the top comer of the net.

One brief hint of what Slough are capable of came in the 63rd minute when Eaton whipped in a superb cross after getting away down the right with Fiore finishing off in style with a powerful near post header. But when Gary Abbott hoisted the ball over from point blank range moments later, one sensed that the Rebel cause was lost.

Boro, though, showed no mercy as Browne finished off at the far post after Hayles got past Rob Smith in the 70th minute. And Beevor - whose hat-trick for Boro on Saturday was expunged when the referee called the game off at half time - got his second a minute later after Gary Crawshaw got round the defence on the right to get in the cross.

Slough, meanwhile were denied a penalty claim for a foul on Gavin Mernagh and saw Murphy miss the target with his header from another useful Eaton cross. These were, however, mere scraps compared with the rich bounty of chances that Boro continued to create.

Stevenage Borough Lineup

Gallagher, Kirby, Mutchell, Sodje, Smith, Barrowcliff, Hooper, Browne, Catlin, Beevor, Hayles. SUBS: Adams (74, for Barrowcliff), Crawshaw (45, for Catlin), Trebble (70, Browne)


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