Stevenage 0-0 Town Half-Time
Tuesday, 6th Aug 2013 20:46
The Blues’ Capital One Cup tie at Stevenage remains goalless at half-time. Christophe Berra and Paul Taylor both went close for Town, although Boro will feel they had the better of the half.
Town boss Mick McCarthy handed Frederic Veseli, Christophe Berra and Dean Gerken their Blues debuts in a side featuring six changes, while up front Paul Taylor made his first start in 11 months, alongside Frank Nouble.
Paul Anderson made his first start for Town having been a sub at Reading. Youngsters Kyle Hammond and Amir Berkane were amongst the senior subs for the first time in a competitive match.
With Aaron Cresswell (thigh) and Tyrone Mings (knee) out injured, former Stevenage loanee Tommy Smith switched to left-back.
Stevenage were forced into a late change when keeper Chris Day twisted his ankle in the warm-up. Steve Arnold took over.
Frank Nouble struck the game’s first serious shot in the seventh minute after exchanging passes with Jay Tabb, but the ball deflected behind.
From the corner, Christophe Berra came closer to opening the scoring, the debutant heading Tabb’s deep ball into the box goalwards only for Sam Wedgbury to nod off the line. From the subsequent flagkick, Cole Skuse almost found Berra with a header back across goal.
Stevenage should have gone in front in the 14th minute when former Arsenal youngster Luke Freeman crossed from the right and an unmarked Oumare Tounkara headed over from six yards when he should have scored.
Darius Charles’s overhead kick bounced harmlessly wide in the 21st minute after Stevenage skipper had headed Freeman’s corner from the right back across goal. The League One side were looking the more dangerous team with Town largely pinned back in their half.
There was an uncomfortable moment for Gerken in the 26th minute when a bouncing ball was left to him by his defenders. Tounkara challenged and the keeper dropped the ball but referee Gavin Ward blew his whistle for a foul.
Taylor, who had spent much of the half dropping deep and picking the ball up in the middle of midfield, scuffed a shot well wide in the 29th minute with the Blues continuing to make little headway.
Town were forced into a change in the 35th minute after Tabb succumbed to a shoulder injury he had suffered earlier on in the half. Skipper Edwards took over in his usual right midfield role with Anderson switching to the left.
On 40, Taylor wasn’t too far away with a shot from the edge of the box which ruffled the sidenetting. Soon after, Gerken was forced into a sharp save from Morais Filipe after the midfielder had cut in from the left after beating Veseli, who moments earlier looked to have been suffering with a knock.
Town again threatened again in the 41st minute, Hyam exchanging passes with Nouble before hitting a low shot across goal which Edwards just couldn’t reach at the far post.
The Blues were finishing the half strongly and in the 44th minute Edwards crossed low from the right but Wedgbury stabbed the ball behind ahead of Nouble.
Town continued to look dangerous as the half moved towards three minutes of injury time, Taylor unleashing a powerful strike from the edge of the box which keeper Arnold did well to push round the post.
The Blues had gradually got on top towards the end of a half in which both sides had had chances to go in front.
Stevenage: Arnold, Wedgbury, Hills, Ashton, Morais, Charles, Burrow, Heslop, Freeman, Tansey, Tounkara. Unused: Day, Jones, Akins, Haber, N'Guessen, Shroot, Deacon.
Town: Gerken, Veseli, Chambers, Berra, Smith, Anderson, Skuse, Hyam, Tabb (Edwards 35), Taylor, Nouble. Unused: Loach, Hewitt, Hammond, Berkane, Murphy, McGoldrick. Referee: Gavin Ward (Surrey). Att:
Photo: Action Images
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