Stevenage made it two wins out of two this pre-season with an impressive 3-2 victory over League One side Portsmouth...
It was the perfect start to life back at the Lamex as Ben Kennedy and Andronicos Georgiou made the difference during a sun-soaked July afternoon.
After a rocky start to the game which saw Boro fall behind, Stevenage soon settled and scored three to come out worthy victors against established opposition. A consolation goal from Chaplin did little to ruin the mood of those in attendance.
Dino Maamria handed new signings Paul Farman, Scott Cuthbert, Johnny Hunt, Joel Byrom and Michael Timlin their Lamex Stadium debuts whilst Mark McKee, Alex Revell and Ben Kennedy were also in from the off.
Kenny Jackett brought a small squad to Stevenage and named his strongest possible side to start the game. With just seven substitutes named, it was a game that the South Coast side were taking seriously.
It was Portsmouth that got off to the better start as they enjoyed the majority of possession and opportunities within the first 30 minutes. Mistakes in defence allowed Pompey to keep coming at Boro and if it wasn’t for Paul Farman’s superb save from Adam May, it could have been 1-0 inside the first 10 minutes.
Scott Cuthbert was needed to throw his body into a trademark goalline clearance to deny Pitman on 15 minutes, but it wouldn’t be long before the visitors took the lead.
Gareth Evans doing the damage with a superbly struck strike from the edge of the box which left Farman little-to-no chance with the save.
Despite that, Stevenage grew into the game and Northern Irishman, Ben Kennedy, began to exert more and more influence on proceedings.
After a number of impressive slaloming runs down the right hand side, Kennedy came close to whipping in a beauty from 20 yards as his left footed curler flew just past the post.
Minutes later, he got his goal. A strong contest for the ball by Revell allowed Kennedy to break through the Portsmouth defence before calmly slotting the ball past Macgillivray in goal to make it 1-1 before half-time.
Half-time saw a brand new XI take to the field for Stevenage whilst Pompey remained unchanged.
Macsen Fraser, Luke Wilkinson, Emmanuel Sonupe, Arthur Iontton, Andronicos Georgiou and Joe White were joined by five trialists as Dino Maamria cast his eye over a wide range of players.
Whilst logic might tell you that so many changes would disrupt the team’s flow or performance level, Stevenage bossed the second half against experienced opposition.
Former scholar, Georgiou grabbing his opportunity with two goals inside 15 minutes. The first coming after some brilliantly direct play by Sonupe, bursting down the left wing before finding Georgiou unmarked in the box, who whipped in a deflected strike with his favoured left foot.
His second, coming with 20 minutes to go, an emphatic header from close range after another assist from Sonupe.
Portsmouth struggled to pick up their early first half form and the introduction of four substitutes, did little to change that until the final minutes.
Chaplin netted in the closing moments as the visitors attempted to mount a late rally but it was too little too late as Stevenage held out for the win.