Stevenage picked up all three points with a 2-1 win over Accrington Stanley this afternoon in Sky Bet League 2.
Early goals in each half from Chris Whelpdale and Charlie Lee secured the win for Boro, who bounced back after Lee Molyneux had equalised for Stanley in the first half.
Team news saw two changes from the Carlisle defeat with Ashton and new loan signing David McAllister coming into the starting eleven. There were also welcome returns from injury for both Sam Beasant and Jerome Okimo, who were joined on the bench by Tom Conlon and fellow new loanees Jack Jebb, Charlie Adams and Josh Clarke.
After last weekend’s defeat an early start against Stanley was crucial and that came within 90 seconds as Boro took the lead. Almost immediately from the kick-off Dean Parrett won a corner and when Joronen failed to gather his resulting delivery, Wells headed back across goal for Whelpdale to find the back of the net from close range. 1-0.
A goal to the good Boro continued to put the Stanley defence under pressure and although Joronen remained largely untested, bar one ball in for Beardsley which Aldred swept up, it felt comfortable for the hosts.
That quickly changed with 18 minutes on the clock when Stanley equalised out of nothing. When Lee Molyneux picked up the ball on the edge of the area there looked little danger, but the winger took a touch past Henry and fired an effort across Day and into the bottom corner.
Beaten once, Ronnie had to be in the right place at the right time just two minutes later to clear a dangerous cross with Gray lurking for an easy tap-in, as Stanley threatened to turn the game on its head.
The remainder of the half was relatively scrappy with neither team able to sustain any meaningful periods of possession. New signing Dave McAllister was proving a loud influence in front of the back four with Parrett and Lee looking to burst forward when possible, but chances remained at a premium.
Jon Ashton had to be alert to put in a vital challenge to deny Maguire an effort on goal and Luke Joyce sliced a shot high and wide as Accrington pushed forward, but Boro generally looked on top of things at the back.
At the other end much of Boro’s attacking play was coming down the right flank with Whelpdale, Henry, Lee and Beardsley all seeing plenty of the ball. If anything was going to happen it looked like coming through Whelpdale and Lee, but apart from a late lobbed effort from the latter, Joronen was relatively untroubled.
Within a minute of the restart centre-back Rob Atkinson headed straight at Day from a Hunt cross, before Boro promptly went up the other end and retook the lead when Lee played a neat one-two with Beardsley before firing home inside the box.
Arsenal loanee Jack Jebb was introduced 10 minutes into the half and was immediately into the action, swinging in a free-kick minutes later which Lee could only head over. The midfielder was to go on to have an encouraging opening 35 minutes in a Stevenage shirt.
Two minutes later Adams, who was looking equally at home on the Broadhall Way turf, flashed in a shot from the right which was somehow hooked clear at full stretch, as Boro pushed forward looking to kill the game.
Jebb continued to pull the strings in midfield, pinging one ball out to Henry whose first time header found Beardsley in the box. Controlling the ball well the striker turned but couldn’t keep his shot down and the ball flew over. Shortly afterwards Beardsley and Lee combined once again in the box but this time Joronen was there to sweep up.
You sensed Boro needed that third goal to kill the game off and with seven minutes remaining they came so close to getting it. A marauding run down the right by Henry saw the full-back fire in a cross with Lancaster, Lee and Jebb all queuing up for a tap-in, but fortunately for Accrington a last-gasp challenge took the ball away from them all and behind for a corner.
Accrington tried to rally with Hunt blasting wide and a couple of late free-kicks causing momentary cause for concern, however Boro saw the game out to pick up a morale-boosting three points ahead of the midweek trip to Portsmouth.
Stevenage: Day, Henry, Ashton, Wells, Charles, Whelpdale, McAllister, Parrett (Jebb 55), Lee, Pett (Adams 46), Beardsley (Lancaster 74)
Subs not used: Beasant, Okimo, Conlon, Clarke
Accrington: Joronen, Hunt, Aldred, Atkinson, Winnard, O’Sullivan, Procter, Joyce, Molyneux (Barry 84), Gray (Carver 79), Maguire (McCartan 63)
Subs not used: Simpson, Windass, Hatfield, Mingoia
Attendance: 2,398 (60 visiting)
Referee: Graham Scott