Under-18s hit post twice in defeat to Stevenage
Stevenage Under-18s 3-0 Town Under-18s
The Town Under-18s exited the FA Youth Cup at the first round stage despite a spirited display against Stevenage.
Paul Driver’s side twice hit the post in the early stages of the second half when Stevenage held a 1-0 lead.
It was Boro forward Fejiri Okenabirhie that did the damage, hitting a hat-trick for the hosts to leave the Hatters to concentrate on the Youth Alliance.
The Town, though, started the brighter of the two sides. Jemale McKenzie-Lowe was denied by a sprawling save on 10 minutes before Zane Banton saw an effort beaten away by the home goalkeeper seven minute later.
Both sides had enjoyed 3-2 wins over each other in the two previous meetings this season, and it was Boro that got their noses in front on 26 minutes when Okenabirhie fired a fine effort from the edge of the area past Ben Barnes.
Hurt, the Town almost levelled things up when tricky wing play from Jordan Davis forced a corner that drifted agonisingly wide.
Stevenage ended the first half the stronger of the two sides and Barnes was called into action on 38 minutes to keep out another effort from distance.
However, it was a five-minute spell immediately after half-time that left the Town cursing when they twice hit the woodwork. Firstly, on 47 minutes, Davis raced clean through but saw his shot cannon off the post before the same outcome prevented Charlie Smith’s effort from making it all square.
It was all the Hatters as they pushed Boro back as McKenzie-Lowe swept a shot wide on 52 minutes before Arel Amu was denied by a save by the goalkeeper’s legs six minutes later.
However, the Town were punished for their profligacy in front of goal when Stevenage doubled their lead on 66 minutes when Okenabirhie finished well.
McKenzie-Lowe came close again three minutes later whilst Smith hammered a drive into the side netting with 13 minutes left.
It was kitchen sink time for the Town as they tried in vain to get back in the tie as time ticked down but, as they pushed forward, they were exposed at the back, and that man Okenabirhie sealed victory for Stevenage in stoppage-time.
Town: Barnes, Longden, Jibodu, Rees (sub Trotman), Stephens, Chabata, Davis, Smith, McKenzie-Lowe (sub Nwgala), Banton, Amu. Subs not used: Carpenter, Galliford, Maguraushe.