Last-gasp Hughes res­cues it for Boro

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Martin Price

TEDDY Sher­ing­ham didn’t know whether to laugh or cry af­ter Mark Hughes net­ted his side a last-gasp equaliser at New­port.

Dipo Akinyemi had put Steve­nage in front but sec­ond-half strikes from Aaron Collins and Scott Bo­den had turned the game on its head.

And af­ter Hughes’ late in­ter­ven­tion earned his side a point, Sher­ing­ham was full of mixed emo­tions.

“Go­ing 2-1 down in a game you are al­ways de­lighted to get back to 2-2, but at 1-0 we were con­trol­ling the game and we are very dis­ap­pointed that we have not gone on to win it,” he said.

“Af­ter go­ing one up we should have gone on to win from there but the mo­men­tum of the game changed very quickly af­ter the break and in the end we have to take the point.

“We had spo­ken at half-time about what could hap­pen if we did not watch our­selves and we had enough ex­pe­ri­ence on the pitch to do that, but you have to give a lot of credit to New­port for the way they came back into the game.

“I can’t fault the char­ac­ter or the at­ti­tude of my play­ers and we man­aged to score a cou­ple of good goals.”

Butcher was also philo­soph­i­cal about the draw, say­ing: “I didn’t think we were com­fort­able with set-plays in the first half, and there was al­ways a sting in the tail pos­si­ble un­less we got that third goal. It was a sucker punch, but we could have been out of sight.

“It was a harsh re­al­ity check, Steve­nage worked bet­ter than us and de­served their lead, but the sec­ond half dis­play was one of the best I’ve seen from any side that I have coached.”

Sher­ing­ham and Butcher have a com­bined to­tal of al­most 130 Eng­land caps be­tween them, but their re­spec­tive sides could have been split by a cig­a­rette pa­per in a flat first half hour.

County fell be­hind when a rou­tine punt up field caught their de­fence too far ad­vanced and Akinyemi raced clear be­fore calmly slot­ting home, although the same player squan­dered two fur­ther chances be­fore the break. They needed the cush­ion of a sec­ond, be­cause the Ex­iles equalised just prior to the hour when teenager Collins lev­elled, who like Akinyemi bagged for the first time in the Football League.

Bo­den then looked to have had the last laugh, lash­ing home af­ter be­ing set up by his strike part­ner Collins with ten min­utes left. But Steve­nage found an equaliser deep into in­jury time, Hughes scram­bling home.

It was a painful les­son for the youth­ful Ex­iles who had a great chance at the death squan­dered by Re­gan Poole.

STAR MAN SCOTT BO­DEN Newpo

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