Stevenage bounced back from defeat at Portsmouth to secure their second successive home win with a 1-0 victory over high-flying Burton Albion.
Charlie Adams’ late deflected cross seven minutes from time was enough to secure all three points against the Brewers in a game which lacked too much in the way of goalmouth action.
Graham Westley made just the one change to his starting XI from the Portsmouth defeat, handing Jack Jebb his first start in place of Chris Beardsley, who dropped to the bench. With the Arsenal loanee coming into midfield, Whelpdale with given a more attacking role up top.
Lucas Akins was given a warm welcome back to The Lamex Stadium by the home faithful and the Burton winger was straight into the action in this one, scuffing a fourth minute shot wide and side-footing a volley over five minutes later as the Brewers started positively.
Approaching the quarter hour mark Dean Parrett, who has been continually improving since his return from injury, picked up a caution for a mistimed tackle. When he then went close to picking up a second minutes later his afternoon came to a premature end with Tom Pett being sent on as sub.
Boro gradually came into the game with Adams showing some neat footwork to dribble his way through the middle of the park on 20 minutes before being tackled, and Jebb also showing some neat touches in midfield. From his searching 30 yard pass on 24 minutes, Pett showed good control and beat his man before floating in a cross which bounced off the bar.
It was to be a rare effort on goal in an otherwise uneventful half. Blyth attempted a first time floated effort over Day on the half hour but only succeeded in scuffing a low shot straight at goal, whilst at the other end Whelpdale was working hard up top but all to no avail as there lacked numbers in attack.
A late corner gave Boro a good chance just before the break, but Adams’ corner for Wells was well defended as the teams went in goalless.
Stevenage began the second half with good intent, with Adams twice seeing shots blocked in the opening five minutes.
The play turned in Burton’s favour momentarily with Akins again striding into the area and forcing Day to parry behind. Lee Bell then won another corner with a deflected effort, from which former Boro man Phil Edwards met McGurk’s inswinging delivery but could only head over.
The game continued to be scrappy and whilst there was no lack of commitment by either side there was a lack of real quality in either penalty area as defences stayed on top. Chris Beardsley replaced Jebb with 20 minutes remaining as Whelpdale shifted back to a more familiar wide role, with Deacon also brought on for the final 10 to give Boro that attacking lift.
With chances at a premium it was perhaps no surprise that the eventual winner was down to a huge stroke of fortune in Stevenage’s favour. The tricky Adams, this time on the left, fired in an 83rd minute cross which took a huge deflection off skipper Ian Sharps and flew past McLaughlin to bring The Lamex to its feet.
The Brewers threw on substitutes in the closing stages but Stevenage dealt with everything thrown at them to record their fourth home win in their last five and rise to 14th, just three points off the playoffs.
Stevenage: Day, Henry, Ashton, Wells, Charles, Adams, Parrett (Pett 17 (Deacon 77)), McAllister, Jebb (Beardsley 70), Lee, Whelpdale
Subs not used: Beasant, Okimo, Conlon, Deacon, Clarke
Burton: McLaughlin, Edwards, Cansdell-Sherriff, Sharps, Bell (Lenihan 86), Akins, Blyth (Austin 85), McCrory, Knowles (Harness 69), McGurk, Palmer
Subs not used: Lyness, Weir, Slade, Doyle
Referee: Andy Woolmer
Attendance: 3,051 (191 away)