Stevenage picked up their third win in four games with a comfortable 3-1 victory at home to Tranmere Rovers this afternoon.
Jimmy Smith put Boro ahead in the 18th minute but the hosts then had to wait until the second half for two goals in two minutes from Charles and Mousinho to give them a comfortable advantage. Only a late own-goal by Curtis Obeng giving the travelling fans anything really of note to cheer.
The opening 15 minutes was particularly cagey and very much resembled a contest between two teams towards the wrong end of the table. But 18 minutes in Boro took the lead through Jimmy Smith.
Lucas Akins beat one man out wide and pulled the ball back for Smith in the box, who mishit his original shot but didn’t give up, taking the ball on and neatly slotting it past Fon Williams into the bottom right corner. It was his first Stevenage goal and a much deserved one after a string of impressive performances in recent weeks.
Buoyed with their lead Boro looked for a second. Freeman found space on the edge of the area and fired in a low effort which was parried by Fon Williams and then cleared behind before Charles could gobble up the rebound.
Whilst Smith’s resulting corner was cleared, Deacon’s return was only cleared up in the air. Dembele rose and met the ball with an almighty powerful header that bounced down and was somehow turned over by Fon Williams via the bar.
For the second weekend running Akins was giving his full back plenty of problems with his pace and power and nearly got himself on the scoresheet on the half hour. Darius Charles showed great touch to control a high ball to him, turned and played Akins in beautifully, only for the winger to toe-poke an effort wide when he perhaps had more time to compose himself.
In a rare foray forward Tranmere won themselves a free-kick when Freeman was adjudged to have handled. Up stepped Jason Koumas but his effort failed to clear the wall and Boro went into the break with a narrow lead.
Stevenage continued to create the best of the goal-scoring opportunities after half time and blew a great chance to extend their advantage on 48 minutes. Charles again showed his strength and skill to keep the ball in by the line, turn his defender and play in Mousinho, whose low shot was parried into the path of Akins, who somehow inexplicably volleyed wide. A golden opportunity, but thankfully not critical to how the game would pan out.
Tranmere were neat and tidy in possession and tried to make things happen going forward but were constantly thwarted by the excellent Dembele, Ashton and Obeng. The Frenchman in particular was happy to power away any aerial attack the visitors tried with a series of powerful headers.
Freeman shot over and Koumas saw a header fly wide as both teams traded chances around the hour mark. However it was Boro who struck with two goals in two minutes to seal the three points with roughly 20 minutes to go.
First Zoko and Akins challenged a Tranmere defender in the far corner, with the latter emerging with the ball and advancing into the box. He cut it back for Charles to fire home with the aid of a deflection.
2-0 became 3-0 within seconds. Freeman was brought down for a free-kick but showed quick thinking to play in Mousinho, who showed excellent technique to volley into the top corner from a tight angle. A fabulous finish and the Barmy Army were bouncing.
Still Boro came forward and when Freeman floated a cross to the back post it looked for all the world like Akins would make it four with a header. Fon Williams, however, was equal to it and parried it wide superbly.
The Tranmere keeper then showed bravery to gather a low Akins cross from the right, following a Roarie Deacon-led break, with three Boro players lurking.
The only downside to the game was a late consolation for Tranmere when Obeng inadvertently poked a cross past an advancing Chris Day into his own net.
But ultimately the game was already won and Stevenage head into Tuesday’s home game with Preston North End full of confidence.
Boro: Day, Obeng, Ashton, Dembele (Hartley 85), Akins, Smith, Mousinho, Freeman, Deacon, Zoko (Burrow 90),Charles
Subs not used: Arnold, Wedgbury, Parrett, Heslop, Reid
Tranmere: Fon Williams, Holmes, Taylor, Arthurworrey, Ridehalgh (Robinson 67), Wallace, Koumas, Jennings, Brown, Cassidy, Lowe
Subs not used: Goodison, Rowe, Kiry, Stocton, Power, Mooney
Referee: Simon Hooper