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04:55 1st July 2015

Stevenage secured their first win of the 2015/16 season with a hard fought 2-0 win over Hartlepool United this afternoon.

Fraser Franks headed the opener right on half-time from a Steven Schumacher corner, before Brett Williams struck late on to secure all three points.

Teddy Sheringham made three changes from the midweek defeat at Leyton Orient with first starts of the season handed to Rohdell Gordon, Connor Ogilvie and Dale Gorman. Tom Pett and Jerome Okimo dropped to the bench and there was also a welcome return among the subs for Chris Whelpdale after a long injury.

It was a strong start by Stevenage who pushed forward and looked a real threat in the opening stages. A Charlie Lee flick nearly found Brett Williams after just two minutes and moments later Rohdell Gordon released Franks down the right flank. The full-back surged into the box and cut the ball back for Lee whose effort bobbled just wide.

Dale Gorman then saw a shot deflect wide after more good work by Gordon as Boro kept up the early pressure on the Pools defence.

More good work by Boro on 21 minutes saw Akinyemi create space on the edge of the box but see his fierce drive deflect behind for a corner. The resulting set piece was headed clear but only as far as Gorman, who again blasted wide, this time on the volley.

After surviving the pressure so far, Hartlepool began to create opportunities of their own and on the half-hour really should have taken the lead when Bingham swivelled in the box but fired straight at Day.

It sparked the visitors into life and they were to go on to enjoy some sustained periods of possession, but there was always a threat from Boro on the counter. A great example of this came 10 minutes before the break when Akinyemi went on a jinking run down the left from the half-way line, before looking up and delivering a cross that just clipped Lee’s head and flew wide.

Moments later a flick from Williams nearly released the youngster again but a slight touch from a defender diverted the danger away just as the striker was bursting through.

Just as it looked like the teams were going to reach half-time level, Boro struck to take the lead. Ogilvie won a corner down the left and when Schumacher swung in the ball, Fraser Franks rose highest to head home from close range.

Bingham fired over inside the box inside the opening 90 seconds of the second half as a resurgent Pools would go on to control much of the possession after the break.

With 54 minutes on the clock good work by Williams in the left channel saw the striker beat his man and advance into the box before laying a great ball across, only for Lee to get in the way of the incoming Schumacher and lift the ball wide.

That aside there wasn’t much joy in the final third for Boro with the main chances instead falling to their visitors. Sub Rhy Oates forced Day into a fine 72nd minute block after getting behind the home defence and when Paynter’s shot deflected kindly into the path of Bingham five minutes later, the striker could only fire into the side netting at the near post.

Hartlepool continued to probe a retreating Boro backline, but every cross that came in was met with a header or block as Stevenage hung on. 

However nerves around the ground were calmed three minutes from time as Brett Williams struck, latching onto a ball forward and firing over Bartlett for a late second to open his account and secure the three points.

A first win of the season not only pushes Stevenage up the table but will undoubtedly give the squad a big confidence boost ahead of next Saturday’s trip to bottom placed Dagenham & Redbridge.

Stevenage: Day, Franks, Hughes, Wells, Ogilvie, Schumacher, Gorman, Gordon (Whelpdale 61), Lee (Hitchcock 82), Akinyemi (Pett 70), Williams

Subs not used: Kettings, Casey, Conlon, Okimo

Hartlepool: Bartlett, Magnay, Carroll, Harrison, Bates (Boyce 17), Bingham, Paynter, Woods (Nelson-Addy 71), Featherstone, Fenwick (Oates 61), Duckworth

Subs not used: Denton, Walker, Jones, Smith

Referee: Charles Breakspear

Attendance: 2,639 (306 away)


    For the first 50 years of their existence, England played their home matches all around the country.