Jake Forster-Caskey's late goal awards Boro the three points at home...
Stevenage returned to The Lamex Stadium for their first home game of 2024, as eighth-placed Blackpool looked to complete the league double over Boro. The Gaffer opted for an unchanged starting eleven from last weekend’s victory over Wigan Athletic, with Jake Forster-Caskey making the bench in place of Elliott List. Craig Macgillivray and Vadaine Oliver made their home debuts.
Ahead of kick-off, The Lamex Stadium took part in a beautiful moment’s applause for Stevenage supporters and best friends, Ollie Gatfield and Liam Sharpe.
Just three minutes in, Stevenage almost took an early lead as Vadaine Oliver’s header from close range hit the side-netting. Soon after, the hosts were forced to withstand some pressure from Blackpool, but some good defending along with MacGillivray’s confidence between the sticks meant the game remained level after fifteen minutes.
Boro grew into the game rather swiftly and came incredibly close to scoring the first goal of the afternoon. Harvey White’s header into the danger area was flicked towards goal by Jamie Reid, but Daniel Grimshaw pulled off a smart stop to deny the hosts.
Craig Macgillivray was called into action again after twenty minutes, pulling out a strong save to his bottom right to keep the scoreline goalless.
Minutes later, Carl Piergianni went to ground holding his nose and required treatment off the pitch. Boro then had to play with ten men for five minutes, but coped superbly, with Finley Burns slotting into defence. Eventually Piergianni returned to the field, and it was back to 11 vs 11.
The game became rather quiet in the closing stages of the first half as both sides settled down and looked to get the upper hand. The fourth official displayed five added minutes, but nothing of note occurred as the half-time whistle was soon blown.
Neither side made a change at half-time as the second half soon got underway with Stevenage now attacking towards the away end.
Boro looked to take the lead five minutes into the half as Luther James-Wildin’s long throw met the head of Carl Piergianni in the box, but his header was simple enough for Daniel Grimshaw to collect.
A triple change was made by the gaffer ten minutes into the second half as Vadaine Oliver, Harvey White and Finley Burns made way for Aaron Pressley, Jake Forster-Caskey and Louis Thompson.
Craig MacGillivray was very impressive on his home debut as he put his body on the line in the attempt to keep a clean sheet. Just after the hour mark, he once again prevented the visitors from scoring, and was fouled in the process.
It was a real battle on The Lamex pitch as Stevenage had to continuously fight hard against the tough opposition. Nick Freeman found some space on the right-hand side and delivered a pinpoint cross to the head of Aaron Pressley whose effort was denied by Daniel Grimshaw.
With fifteen of the ninety minutes to play, Jake Forster-Caskey was fouled on the left flank and Boro were awarded a free-kick in a dangerous position. Forster-Caskey crossed the ball into the area but it was headed out to Louis Thompson. The midfielder sent the ball back into the box, but Jordan Roberts was in an offside position.
Stevenage had to be incredibly patient and hardworking all afternoon, and eventually it paid off as they took the lead with five minutes remaining. Luther James-Wildin’s long throw was knocked down to Jordan Roberts who composed himself and laid it back to Jake Forster-Caskey, whose low effort took two deflections and found the back of the net to send the home crowd into raptures.
The atmosphere inside The Lamex Stadium really picked up after the goal as the crowd looked to help their side over the line. Six minutes of additional time were to be played.
Blackpool failed to threaten the Stevenage defence in added time as the home side did what they do best. The victory was seen out to perfection as the referee blew his final whistle.
That win sees Boro return to the play-off places after a very brief spell outside, as they now prepare for another home game in three days’ time against Reading.
Attendance: 5,014 including 780 away.