Danny Newton. Take a bow.
Danny Newton’s late volley earned Stevenage a surprise three points on The Wirral on a bitter Tuesday evening, as Alex Revell’s men took the game to the promotion hopefuls and left with the most valuable prize.
Alex Revell named three changes from Saturday's two-all draw with Morecambe, with Luke Prosser, Tom Pett and Charlie Carter coming in for Ross Marshall, Arthur Read and Matty Stevens.
Charlie Carter started up front partnering Luke Norris, Tom Pett slotted in the middle next to Chris Lines, and Luke Prosser took the captain’s armband at centre back.
It was Stevenage who had the first opportunity to go in front after just two minutes. From a deep free-kick, Chris Lines lofted pass was knocked down by the head of Charlie Carter inside the box, only for Joe Martin to slice his volley towards Scott Davies who saved comfortably.
A minute later, Tranmere went close. Ali Crawford’s corner evaded everyone in the box including David Stockdale, before a last-ditch clearance off the line from Luther James-Wildin kept the ball out. Stevenage had survived an early scare.
After a quick change of top for David Stockdale due to the referee deeming our dark blue kit too similar to the goalkeeper’s light grey kit, the on loan stopper was quickly called to action minutes later. Winger Danny Lloyd had managed to create a space for himself in the box before striking at goal, only for Stockdale to get down well to his left and parry the ball to safety.
Stockdale was called into action again moments later, saving from Ali Crawford’s low volley.
Just after the half hour mark, the cold conditions and half-frozen pitch were taking a toll on the Stevenage outfielders. Both Joe Martin and Charlie Carter were forced off with muscle injuries, replaced by Ben Coker and Matty Stevens.
As the half drew to a close, Stevenage stood firm in what was an excellent defensive first half performance.
The second period got underway and Alex Revell’s men were back on the front foot. A counter-attack lead by Chris Lines looked promising for Stevenage, but broke down when the midfielder’s through ball had too much on it and evaded the onrushing Matty Stevens.
A minute later, Stevenage had a golden chance when Jack Aitchison drilled the ball across the face of goal, only for there to be a lack of red and white on the end of it.
The high pressing continued as Boro pushed Tranmere deep into their own half, and had yet another opportunity in quick succession when Matty Stevens ran through on goal – before the forward’s shot was blocked behind for a corner.
On the hour mark, there were appeals for a penalty from the away dugout when a lazy Tranmere leg looked to have tripped Jack Aitchison in the area, but the referee said free-kick. Chris Lines’ set piece was on target, but Davies made the easy save.
With twenty minutes to go, Matty Stevens was convinced he had given Stevenage the advantage. His header from Chris Lines’ free-kick looked to have cannoned against the crossbar and down over the line, but the linesman disagreed. Boro may have felt hard done by, but we also remember the one for Cheltenham on Boxing Day.
With ten minutes left to play, Danny Newton was introduced for Luke Norris. And what a substitution it was.
On the volley, first touch, outside of the box. Danny Newton had fired Stevenage into the lead at Prenton Park. What a hit and no less than the team deserved having played outstandingly well up to this point.
Tranmere came at Boro with everything but the kitchen sink in the last ten minutes, but every single Stevenage player was putting in a 10/10 performance. No way through for the team unbeaten this calendar year.
A huge three points on the road, in supreme style.