What the press made of the Boro defeat
Chris Dagnall was sent off as Crewe Alex suffered their first defeat in four matches against Stevenage at Gresty Road on Saturday.
They trailed 2-0 after a poor first half display when Matt Gooden and Fraser Franks put the visitors in the ascendancy, taking advantage of some very soft defending.
By then both sides were down to 10 men after striker Dagnall and Boro keeper Jamie Jones were given their marching orders for an off the ball incident.
James Jones got Crewe back in it with his eighth of the season from the penalty spot with 20 minutes left.
But they could not find an equaliser and slipped to a first home loss in four.
Boro will be delighted with an afternoon’s work that saw them withstand a late surge – though more crosses than actual chances– in a result that extends their unbeaten run, but they will have to do without Jamie Jones for ‘the foreseeable future’ after the keeper was injured and then sent off during a tussle with Crewe striker Chris Dagnall.
All had been going well for Stevenage before the red mist descended as Matt Godden, their captivating striker, put them ahead after just seven minutes.
In a routine straight off the training ground – though of course most set pieces are – Charlie Lee’s long throw was flicked on by Luke Wilkinson, a colossus at both ends of the pitch, and the ball fell to Godden just six yards out.
The striker had an attempt but it was blocked. Undeterred, he twisted and turned his way into making space from which he beat Brad Garratt in the Crewe goal and sent Boro’s 172 fans into raptures.
But just 18 minutes later and both sides had players leaving the pitch due to red cards – Dagnall walking and Jones on a stretcher, booed by the home supporters.
Dagnall, chasing a long pass, left his foot in as Jones clutched the ball, leaving the keeper on the ground. But as Dagnall approached Jones reacted and following a melee between both sets of players the referee gave Dagnall his marching orders followed by the goalkeeper.
Chris Day came on for Michael Tonge for the visitors but in truth had little to do for much of the game.
In fact Crewe’s better chances had come earlier with George Cooper, as good as any attacking player on the pitch, crossing perfectly for Jordan Bowery to curl off target before Crewe midfielder James Jones fired wide.
But after the explosive incident things settled quickly and it was Stevenage who pressed home their extra quality.