Stevenage Football Club cause upset in Berkshire as Boro progress to the Second Round of the Carabao Cup...
After winning two from two in Sky Bet League Two, the attention was turned to the first round of The Carabao Cup for Steve Evans and his men as they were met with Championship opposition in Reading at The Select Car Leasing stadium. Boro hoped to repeat their 1-0 win over the Royals back in 2012 in the FA Cup Third Round.
Steve Evans decided to rotate his team for the cup tie, making seven changes in total. Aaron Chapman, Dean Campbell, Kane Smith, Arthur Read, Jamie Reid and Danny Rose were all brought into the starting eleven. Meanwhile, Reading’s starting eleven consisted of a nineteen-year-old, three eighteen-year-olds and a seventeen-year-old.
Roughly ten minutes in, Stevenage broke the deadlock and were looking dominant. Right-back Kane Smith drilled a low ball into the box as Norwich loanee Saxon Earley was there to calmly place it past Royals keeper Dean Bouzanis to open the scoring and get his first goal in a Boro shirt.
Stevenage remained the side on top as they looked to potentially double their lead over the Championship side. Saxon Earley’s unique throw-in technique led to the ball reaching Danny Rose’s head who flicked on for Jake Reeves, but the midfielder could only get his header into the hands of Dean Bouzanis.
With half an hour played, Reading had very little to get excited about until their side won a corner to lift the home crowd’s spirit. The ball was sent into the area but Saxon Earley, who had been heavily involved so far, headed clear. Unsurprisingly, Earley was involved once again five minutes later, but this time receiving a yellow card for obstruction.
With five minutes to go until the interval, Boro came close to grabbing a second. The ball fell to Kane Smith just outside the area who fired low and hard, inches wide of the post. This turned out to be the final chance of the half as Evans’ men went into the break one goal up.
As the second half got underway, Stevenage looked to remain the dominant side and push on for a second goal. Jake Reeves found Danny Rose in the area whose attempted overhead kick was blocked.
Despite Boro being on top for the first twenty minutes of the half, Reading managed to level the scoring just after the hour mark. Kelvin Ehibhatiomhan found himself through on goal against the run of play and was left with the simple task of tapping the ball past Chapman to get one back.
The Royals almost took the lead just minutes later with Boro on the back foot. Mamadi Camara was sent through on goal, but Terence Vancooten’s pace allowed him to put in a sublime last-ditch tackle to get his side out of danger.
Steve Evans made three changes with ten minutes of the ninety to go, with Luther James-Wildin, Max Clark and Jake Taylor replacing Dean Campbell, Saxon Earley and Arthur Read.
With just two minutes remaining and the game looking destined for a penalty shootout, Stevenage got their deserved winner. Dan Sweeney touched the ball down with his chest before progressing forward and delivering a delightful ball to the back post. Danny Rose was in the right place at the right time to tap in and get his first goal for Stevenage and send his side into the Second Round of the Carabao Cup.
League Two Stevenage upset Championship Reading as focus now turns back to the league this Saturday as Boro go on their travels to Walsall.