A hardworking performance ends in triumph as Aaron Pressley's early penalty gives Stevenage the all-important three points...
Stevenage welcomed former Premier League Club and 2013 FA Cup winners Wigan Athletic to the Lamex Stadium for the first time ever, looking to pick up a vital three points in their Sky Bet League One campaign. The gaffer made just the one change from Tuesday’s defeat in Bolton as Elliott List came in for the suspended Jamie Reid who picked up his fifth yellow card of the season in midweek.
The hosts couldn’t have wished for a better start to the game as Jordan Roberts was clipped inside the area, meaning Boro were awarded a penalty after just six minutes. It was our big number twenty, Aaron Pressley, to take as he calmly stepped up and slotted it into the bottom left corner to give us the lead.
Wigan looked to grow into the game after fifteen minutes as they searched for an equaliser. Stephen Humphrys tested Taye Ashby-Hammond, but the Boro stopper stretched to his right to deny.
Stevenage were defending well in the first half, keeping the visitors at bay. Thelo Aasgaard was forced to try his luck from range and fired high and wide of the mark.
By the half-hour mark, Wigan had accumulated three yellow cards and soon after, Callum Lang received his second yellow for a foul on Jake Forster-Caskey, reducing The Latics to ten men.
From the resulting free-kick, Forster-Caskey’s cross was headed out to Louis Thompson whose effort was blocked.
There were some worrying signs shortly before the break as Luther James-Wildin fell to the ground and stayed there for a lengthy period after an accidental clash of heads with his skipper Carl Piergianni. The right-back was stretched off to heart-warming applause from the Stevenage supporters and was replaced by Nick Freeman.
Thirteen minutes were added to the end of the first-half due to the stoppage in play as the game resumed with Stevenage looking to increase their advantage.
Well into the injury time, Aaron Pressley had a golden opportunity to grab his second of the afternoon. The forward’s volley was initially saved before he tapped the rebound the wrong side of the post.
Eventually, the referee blew his half-time whistle to send Boro into the break a goal in front.
At half-time Stevenage made no changes, but Wigan’s Kelland Watts was replaced by Josh Magennis in an attacking substitution.
Boro started the second-half the brighter side as they looked to build on their one-goal lead. Elliott List came extremely close to getting the second goal of the day as his effort from close-range was denied.
Wigan were struggling to get out of their half at times as Stevenage remained on the front foot. Jake Forster-Caskey’s free-kick from just outside the area troubled the Latics defence but they managed to scramble the danger away.
A double change was made shortly after the hour mark with Elliott List and Dan Sweeney making way for Kane Hemmings and Alex MacDonald. Terence Vancooten moved from midfield to defence with Alex Macdonald slotting into the middle of the park.
Wigan found a rare chance to equalise with Martial Godo finding space on the left-hand side of the area, but his shot from close range was far too tame to worry Ashby-Hammond as he calmly collected.
Another double substitution was made with just shy of twenty of the ninety to be played as Nathan Thompson and Ben Thompson replaced Terence Vancooten and Aaron Pressley who could both be proud of their performances.
Alex MacDonald was handed a red card with thirteen minutes to go, meaning it was ten men vs ten men for the remainder of the game. Several yellow cards were handed out in the process as both sets of players briefly came together.
Ten minutes remained as Stevenage still had their one-goal advantage. The Lamex Stadium was picking up in noise as the home supporters looked to help their team over the line.
Boro defended well to see them into added time as the fourth official’s board read nine. Kane Hemmings saw an opportunity from twenty yards, but his effort sailed past the post.
Next up, it was Dan Butler to try his luck from outside the box as the clock was winding down. The left-back volleyed on goal with his right foot, forcing Sam Tickle to make the save.
Stevenage gave Wigan hardly anything to work with in added time as they slowed the pace of the game. Finally, the referee looked at his watch and blew his final whistle to award Boro an all-important three points.
There was plenty to be proud of for Stevenage as they worked incredibly hard to return to winning ways. Focus now turns to The EFL Trophy as Wycombe Wanderers arrive at The Lamex on Tuesday.
Attendance: 4,402 inc. 857 away supporters