Three second-half goals get Stevenage back to winning ways in Sky Bet League Two...
Boro travelled to The Cherry Red Records Stadium to face AFC Wimbledon in league action for the first time in seven years. Looking for his side’s first win since January, Steve Evans made four changes from Saturday’s defeat to Tranmere as Luther James-Wildin, Jake Taylor, Daryl Horgan and Jamie Reid made the starting eleven.
The side lined up in a 4-3-3 formation to begin with. Toby Savin started between the sticks behind a back four of Luther James-Wildin, Dan Sweeney, Carl Piergianni and Max Clark. A midfield trio of Alex Gilbey, Jake Reeves and Jake Taylor was formed, with Daryl Horgan and Jamie Reid on the wings, and Luke Norris the lone striker.
The opening fifteen minutes were very open as players from both sides looked to stay warm in the windy conditions. Wimbledon’s Josh Davison had the first real chance of the game, with a low powerful effort from the edge of the area which was denied by Toby Savin.
Savin was called into action again ten minutes later as Ali Al-Hamadi was sent through on goal. The loanee goalkeeper got down quickly to deny his effort from close-range and keep the score level.
Forty minutes in though, The Dons grabbed the opening goal. A deep cross into the back post caused problems for Toby Savin as he was unable to punch it clear, with Ali Al-Hamadi lurking behind to tap it in and give his side the lead.
At half-time, with his team a goal down, Steve Evans decided to make a triple substitution. Jonathan Tomkinson, Michael Bostwick and Jordan Roberts were introduced in place of Daryl Horgan, Jake Reeves and Jake Taylor.
Stevenage resorted to their favoured back three in the second half, consisting of Dan Sweeney, Jonathan Tomkinson and Carl Piergianni.
Boro looked far brighter in the opening stages of the second half as they had a big forty-five minutes ahead of them. Jamie Reid looked to bury the ball into the top corner from close range but fired just high and wide of the near post.
Evans then made a fourth change as Luther James-Wildin made way for Jake Forster-Caskey, with Alex Gilbey slotting in at right wing-back.
Just before the hour mark, Stevenage levelled the scoring through none other than Carl Piergianni. A ball was sent into the area, with the captain ready to pounce with a header finding the bottom corner.
Then, just a few minutes later, Boro took the lead. Luke Norris’ effort inside the box deflected off a Dons defender and crept into the goal to give Stevenage a one-goal advantage with under thirty minutes to play.
The goals just kept coming in the second half, but this time in favour of the hosts. Armani Little squared the ball to Ali Al-Hamadi to tap in from close-range to level the scoring and get his second goal of the evening.
With just under ten minutes to go, Stevenage regained their lead directly in front of the superb travelling support. Jake Forster-Caskey’s free-kick found the head of Dan Sweeney who nodded it on for Luke Norris to strike low and hard first-time into the back of the net.
As the clock reached ninety minutes, the fourth official indicated an additional six as Boro looked to hold on tightly to their one-goal advantage. Steve Evans made his final change in stoppage-time as goal-scorer Luke Norris was replaced by Josh March.
AFC Wimbledon attempted to equalise late with a low effort on goal, but Toby Savin collected it with ease. Boro then cleared the danger in the final minute before the referee blew his whistle for full-time. It was an entertaining clash which tested the character of this Stevenage side who picked up their first victory in six games.
Attendance: 6936 including 463 away supporters.