Stevenage 1 Airdrie 0

Last updated : 26 August 2002 By Footymad Previewer

Stevenage edged past Gravesend in a tense encounter at Broadhall Way but it took a sending-off and a late goal to separate the two sides.

In a tense opening period Gravesend showed they had come to spoil the game with a physical approach which meant that few chances were created by either side.

Simon Wormull came closest for the home side early on with two shots just wide of the goal while Jean Michel Sigere wasted the first clear opportunity of the game after 22 minutes when a poor first touch saw him give keeper Paul Wilkerson the chance to gather after being clear on goal.

Gravesend showed little ambition upfront but were solid in defence and with a host of fouls committed it wasn't long before Matt Lee became the first player to be booked following a foul on Adrian Clarke.

A snapshot from Liam Hatch which was blocked by home keeper Mark Westhead was the visitors' only effort on goal in the first period.

Stevenage did little better with Wormull twice coming close in added time as the first period ended goalless.

The second half began far more brightly and it was Stevenage who came close in the opening minute when Jason Goodliffe saw a flying header from a Wormull corner go just over the bar.

Stevenage enjoyed a bright spell in which they should have taken the lead with Sigere guilty of two horrendous misses as he drove the ball at the keeper when twice clear on goal.

Gravesend stretched the home defence but lacked the cutting edge and their cause was fatally wounded when Hatch was sent off on 73 minutes for his second yellow card, when he kicked the ball away after receiving a yellow card some 20 minutes earlier for dissent.

Stevenage made the most of the extra man as further chances fell their way and after Kirk Jackson and Sigere again came close, it was Sigere who finally broke the deadlock just seven minutes left as his imaginative back-heel from a Simon Travis cross on the right outfoxed the visitors defence to guarantee the home side three points