Stevenage go home empty-handed after a battle with Mansfield Town...
Stevenage made the trip to Mansfield to face Nigel Clough’s Stags with just four games remaining in the race for automatic promotion. Steve Evans made two changes from the starting eleven that picked up all three points at home to Doncaster Rovers on Tuesday, as Jake Reeves and Michael Bostwick replaced Jake Taylor and Jake Forster-Caskey in midfield. Sixteen-year-old Makise Evans made the bench.
The opening ten minutes saw little offence from Boro and Mansfield soon took the lead. Davis Keillor-Dunn’s effort was helped on by James Gale as the ball trickled past Thimothee Lo-Tutala and into the back of the net.
The Stags continued to see most of the possession as Stevenage were unable to play their football. A dangerous corner was sent into the Boro box just before the half-hour mark, but the visitors defended well and Lo-Tutala held onto it.
The remainder of the half was exciting for neither team as the goalkeepers were hardly tested. With five minutes to go until the interval, Luther James-Wildin’s long throw-in made its way to Dan Sweeney at the back post who nodded over the bar.
In the closing stages of the half, there was a burst of energy from Stevenage as Jamie Reid carried the ball forward before seeing his powerful effort deflect out for a corner.
Then, minutes later Luther James-Wildin made a darting run down the right wing before finding Jordan Roberts in the box whose header was saved by former Boro keeper Christy Pym.
At half-time, Steve Evans made his first substitution of the afternoon, introducing Jake Forster-Caskey in place of Michael Bostwick in midfield.
Boro looked sharper in the opening stages of the second half as they looked to grab an equaliser. Dan Sweeney’s cross met the head of Max Clark in the area, but his effort fell into the hands of Christy Pym.
Mansfield were applying the pressure on the hour mark and looked to double their advantage. Lucas Akins had a shot on target from inside the area, but it was blocked out for a corner. Minutes later, Jake Taylor was brought on in place of Danny Rose for the final thirty minutes.
The Stags came just inches away from increasing their lead to two, as Davis Keillor-Dunn’s effort from the edge of the area flew just over the bar, to the relief of the Boro supporters.
With over fifteen minutes to play, Stevenage’s third substitution was made as Daryl Horgan replaced Alex Gilbey.
The next substitution to be made was historic as Makise Evans, born in August 2006, became Stevenage Football Club’s youngest-ever player as he was subbed on for Luther James-Wildin in the hopes of grabbing a late equaliser.
Six minutes of additional time were to be played as Stevenage searched for a dramatic equaliser. Jake Taylor’s cross caused problems, but the danger was cleared.
Unfortunately for Boro, it wasn’t to be as the referee blew his final whistle and the hosts earned themselves all three points. Stevenage travel to Swindon on Tuesday with just three enormous games remaining.