Stevenage 3 Nuneaton 1

Last updated : 18 January 2003 By Footymad Previewer

Stevenage won this battle of the Boros but it took a dramatically improved second-half performance before they claimed three vital points in their fight against relegation.

With Nuneaton drifting ever closer to the drop zone this was always going to prove a vital clash for both sides and after the early exchanges it certainly appeared that Stevenage were the more likely to emerge victorious.

The best chance of the early exchanges fell to Justin Richards for Stevenage who cut inside the penalty area and fired a fierce drive which Nuneaton Chris MacKenzie could only palm into the path of Michael Blackwood.

Blackwood was unable to control the ball and Nuneaton scrambled the ball clear. Richards also saw an effort fly just over as Stevenage battled to undo the Nuneaton defence.

Up front Nuneaton had appeared to pose little threat before former Stevenage man Carl Alford put them ahead with their first attempt on goal on 22 minutes.

A corner in from Andy Ducros found Alford unmarked at the far post and he powerfully headed home to give the visitors the advantage.

From this point on Nuneaton were to dominate the half and could have gone further ahead when Marc McGregor raced clear on goal and saw a fierce drive parried onto the bar by Stevenage keeper Mark Westhead.

Alford also saw a header tipped over by the alert Stevenage keeper while McGregor looked to have put Nuneaton further ahead in the first half added time, when his header from close range was palmed away by Stevenage's goalkeeper.

The home side demanded a complete change in fortunes and they got the best possible start to the second half when Stuart Fraser pulled them level after just 48 minutes when he drove the ball in from close range after a Martin Williams header cannoned back off the post.

Stevenage poured forward after this confidence booster and were ahead on 57 minutes when Robin Trott headed in from close range as Nuneaton were unable to defend a Simon Wormull corner.

The scoring was rounded off 20 minutes from the end with the best goal of the game as Justin Richards curled home an exquisite shot from the edge of the area after he'd been put in the clear by a pinpoint Blackwood pass.

With jeers and boos ringing in the ears of the Nuneaton players from a disgruntled away support there was no way back for the visitors and there was less reason for Stevenage to defend their lead and they went in search of further strikes.