Stevenage 2 - 0 Accrington Stanley
Stevenage took a step towards the League Two play-off final with a comfortable victory over Accrington.
Stacy Long fired Stevenage in front from 15 yards with the aid of a deflection off Sean Hessey.
Darius Charles hit the post with a 30-yard volley before heading into the path of Joel Byrom, who poked in the second on the stroke of half-time.
Jimmy Ryan had a glorious chance to pull one back but could only hit team-mate Sean McConville with his shot.
Stevenage, who were only promoted from the Blue Square Premier last season, dominated the game and were full value for the two-goal lead they will take to the Crown Ground on Friday.
It was Long who had the first chance of the game, cutting onto his right foot only to curl his shot over the angle of post and bar.
But he made no mistake when the ball broke to him inside the penalty area shortly afterwards, wrongfooting visiting keeper Alex Cisak with the help of a deflection off Hessey.
Stevenage keeper Chris Day grabbed Ryan's volley at the second attempt as Accrington, who had come into the game on the back of a 13-match unbeaten run, posed a rare threat.
But it was the home side who continued to carry the greater menace as Craig Reid's shot on the turn flew just over and Charles smacked the post with a delicious long-range volley before they finally doubled their lead.
Charles flicked a high, hanging right-wing cross from Ronnie Henry into the path of Byrom, who nipped in front of Cisak to poke home his first goal of the season against his former club.
Cisak continued to be the busier of the two keepers after the break, but it was Accrington who blew the best chance when McConville was sent clean through by Scott Laird's errant backpass.
He opted to take the ball around Day but lost his footing, and Ryan, following-up, could only hit the loose ball against his team-mate and then watch as it flew wide with the goal gaping.
Terry Gornell then volleyed wide from a tight angle for Stanley after a Ryan free-kick clipped the wall, while at the other end Michael Bostwick went close to a third as his volley from 25 yards flew the wrong side of the post.
Stevenage manager Graham Westley told BBC Three Counties Radio:
"The first half we played some very good football, we carved out numerous opportunities and, let's face facts, second half we still carved out opportunities.
"What you saw was a dominant and decisive display in the first half and a less energetic one second half.
"Lads like Joel Byrom, Stacy Long and Lawrie Wilson, who haven't had many minutes, had to dig deep to keep some form of forward momentum."
- 16 Day
- 02 Wilson Booked
- 03 Laird
- 04 Charles (Murphy - 83' )
- 05 Ashton
- 14 Roberts
- 25 Henry
- 08 Long Booked (Beardsley - 75' Booked )
- 13 Byrom
- 24 Bostwick
- 10 Reid (Harrison - 75' )
- 29 Welch
- 31 Marjarson
- 07 Murphy
- 17 Winn
- 20 Beardsley
- 26 Harrison
- 27 Maamria
- 01 Cisak
- 03 Winnard
- 04 Hessey
- 12 Edwards Booked
- 26 Jacobson
- 06 Procter
- 07 Ryan
- 11 McConville
- 14 Joyce Booked
- 27 Craney Booked (Putterill - 81' )
- 24 Gornell
- 25 Dunbavin
- 05 Long
- 13 Richardson
- 17 Murphy
- 08 Barnett
- 10 Putterill
- 09 Lindfield
Live Text Commentary
Full Time The referee signals the end of the game.90:00 +3:33
Long range effort on goal by James Ryan goes wide left of the goal.90:00 +2:59
Byron Harrison has shot on goal from just outside the area which goes wide of the right-hand upright.88:01
Ronnie Henry challenges Ray Putterill unfairly and gives away a free kick. Strike on goal comes in from James Ryan from the free kick.87:33
Sean Hessey takes the free kick.87:33 Booking
Booking Chris Beardsley is cautioned by the ref for unsporting behaviour.87:23
Foul by Chris Beardsley on Terry Gornell, free kick awarded.86:53
Joel Byrom takes the inswinging corner, clearance made by Luke Joyce.85:46
Byron Harrison concedes a free kick for a foul on Phil Edwards. Alex Cisak takes the direct free kick.84:36
Outswinging corner taken by Joel Byrom from the left by-line, clearance made by Dean Winnard.83:23
Free kick taken by Sean Hessey.83:23 Booking
Booking Lawrie Wilson goes into the book for unsporting behaviour.83:19
Lawrie Wilson concedes a free kick for a foul on Joe Jacobson.81:25
Chris Day restarts play with the free kick.81:25 Substitution
Substitution Darius Charles leaves the field to be replaced by Darren Murphy.81:25
Terry Gornell gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Darius Charles.81:02
Foul by Byron Harrison on Joe Jacobson, free kick awarded. Sean Hessey takes the direct free kick.80:19 Substitution
Substitution Ray Putterill replaces Ian Craney.79:51
The referee blows for offside. Sean Hessey takes the indirect free kick.78:26
Effort from outside the penalty area by Michael Bostwick goes wide left of the goal.
Andrew Procter concedes a free kick for a foul on Michael Bostwick. Chris Day takes the free kick.76:09
Outswinging corner taken left-footed by Joel Byrom, clearance made by Luke Joyce.74:16
Chris Day restarts play with the free kick.74:16 Substitution
Substitution Chris Beardsley replaces Stacy Long.74:16 Substitution
Substitution Byron Harrison comes on in place of Craig Reid.74:16
Terry Gornell is ruled offside.73:05
Jon Ashton challenges Terry Gornell unfairly and gives away a free kick. James Ryan produces a shot on goal direct from the free kick.71:08
Free kick awarded for a foul by Andrew Procter on Stacy Long. A cross is delivered by Joel Byrom, Headed effort from deep inside the penalty area by Scott Laird misses to the right of the target.69:01
Headed effort from deep inside the area by Darius Charles misses to the right of the goal.68:27
Joel Byrom takes the free kick.68:27 Booking
Booking Stacy Long goes into the book.68:07 Booking
Booking Caution for Ian Craney.67:37 Booking
Booking Luke Joyce goes into the referee's book for unsporting behaviour.66:40
Foul by Luke Joyce on Stacy Long, free kick awarded.65:59
Sean McConville fouled by Mark Roberts, the ref awards a free kick. Sean McConville restarts play with the free kick.64:10
James Ryan takes a shot. Blocked by Sean McConville.62:53
Stacy Long takes a shot. Alex Cisak makes a comfortable save.62:10
Corner taken right-footed by Stacy Long, save made by Alex Cisak.58:45
Joel Byrom produces a shot on goal direct from the free kick.58:45 Booking
Booking Phil Edwards goes into the book for dissent.58:25
Phil Edwards gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Darius Charles.57:09
Unfair challenge on Darius Charles by Phil Edwards results in a free kick. Joel Byrom takes the free kick.56:07
Craig Reid gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Alex Cisak. Alex Cisak takes the direct free kick.53:37
Terry Gornell fouled by Jon Ashton, the ref awards a free kick. James Ryan crosses the ball in from the free kick.50:40
Darius Charles concedes a free kick for a foul on Andrew Procter. Sean Hessey takes the free kick.50:05
Andrew Procter has a headed effort at goal from close in which goes wide right of the target.49:37
Terry Gornell fouled by Mark Roberts, the ref awards a free kick. Sean McConville takes the free kick.49:09
Darius Charles produces a left-footed shot from the edge of the area and misses to the left of the goal.48:38
Unfair challenge on Joel Byrom by Sean McConville results in a free kick. Ronnie Henry takes the direct free kick.47:52
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Joel Byrom by Ian Craney. Michael Bostwick restarts play with the free kick.46:06
Joel Byrom takes a outswinging corner.45:22
Joel Byrom produces a left-footed shot from long distance which goes wide right of the goal.45:01
The second half begins.45:00 +4:43 Half time
Half Time The referee blows for half time.45:00 +3:42
Luke Joyce fouled by Jon Ashton, the ref awards a free kick. Sean Hessey takes the free kick.45:00 +3:06
Lawrie Wilson fouled by Ian Craney, the ref awards a free kick. Ronnie Henry restarts play with the free kick.45:00 +2:42
Stacy Long takes a shot. Save made by Alex Cisak.44:33
Darius Charles provided the assist for the goal.44:33 Goal scored
Goal! - Joel Byrom - Stevenage 2 - 0 Accrington Joel Byrom fires in a goal from close in low into the middle of the goal. Stevenage 2-0 Accrington Stanley.43:41
Shot on goal by Lawrie Wilson from just inside the area goes over the target.41:59
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Lawrie Wilson by Luke Joyce. Direct free kick taken by Joel Byrom.39:50
Michael Bostwick takes a shot. Comfortable save by Alex Cisak.36:18
Shot from long range by Darius Charles bounces off the post. Craig Reid takes a shot. Alex Cisak makes a comfortable save.33:36
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Andrew Procter by Michael Bostwick. Free kick taken by Sean McConville.32:39
Shot on goal by Craig Reid from just inside the area goes over the target.32:17
James Ryan takes a shot. Save made by Chris Day.31:02
Joe Jacobson delivers the ball.28:40
Free kick awarded for a foul by Darius Charles on Luke Joyce. Free kick taken by Sean Hessey.27:27
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Andrew Procter by Michael Bostwick. Sean Hessey takes the free kick.26:55
Craig Reid produces a left-footed shot from deep inside the six-yard box which goes wide of the left-hand upright.25:30
Mark Roberts concedes a free kick for a foul on Terry Gornell. Free kick taken by Sean McConville.25:04
Darius Charles challenges Andrew Procter unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Alex Cisak.24:50
Free kick awarded for a foul by Terry Gornell on Jon Ashton. Chris Day takes the direct free kick.23:24 Goal scored
Goal! - Stacy Long - Stevenage 1 - 0 Accrington Stacy Long gets on the score sheet with a goal from inside the box low into the middle of the goal. Stevenage 1-0 Accrington Stanley.22:37
Free kick awarded for a foul by Dean Winnard on Darius Charles. Free kick taken by Joel Byrom.21:08
Stacy Long takes a outswinging corner.20:06
Free kick awarded for a foul by Scott Laird on James Ryan. Free kick crossed right-footed by Sean McConville from right wing, Joel Byrom manages to make a clearance.19:15
Stacy Long concedes a free kick for a foul on Sean McConville. Free kick taken by Sean Hessey.16:30
The referee blows for offside against Craig Reid. Sean Hessey takes the free kick.13:34
Foul by Terry Gornell on Michael Bostwick, free kick awarded. Chris Day restarts play with the free kick.9:36
The referee blows for offside. Chris Day takes the indirect free kick.8:40
Effort from the edge of the box by Stacy Long goes wide of the right-hand upright.5:54
Free kick awarded for a foul by Darius Charles on Dean Winnard. Phil Edwards restarts play with the free kick.1:53
James Ryan takes a shot. Ronnie Henry gets a block in.1:25
The official flags Stacy Long offside. Indirect free kick taken by Alex Cisak.0:00
The match begins.
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