Two goals for Danny Rose & a Boro first for Terence Vancooten ensure qualification from our Papa John’s Trophy group…
Steve Evans made almost wholesale changes from Saturday for this Papa John’s Trophy fixture, with seven changes including the return of Aaron Chapman between the sticks.
Max Clark and Kane Smith came into the team either side of Terence Vancooten and Dan Sweeney in a back four – the latter captain for the night.
Alex Gilbey kept his place while Dean Campbell, Arthur Read and Jake Taylor completed the midfield diamond. Danny Rose partnered Luke Norris up front.
Boro went in the game knowing victory would mean qualification to the knockout stages of the tournament and could even be confirmed as group winners depending on the Peterborough United vs Tottenham U21s result.
An early kick-off in SG2 for the Papa John’s Trophy, and an early opener for Boro who were ahead within three minutes. A great spell of possession and high pressure from Steve Evans’ men could only be half cleared by Wycombe’s Chris Forino to the head of Jake Taylor on the edge of the box. Danny Rose latched onto the head pass by spinning to let the ball onto his left foot, before firing home past Tyla Dickinson.
A positive start from Boro and a deserved lead to match.
The bright start continued for Stevenage into midway through the first half, when Danny Rose’s intuition on halfway with a lying-down pass found Jake Taylor racing through on goal. The midfielder drove towards the Chairboys’ goal but could only drag his effort wide from inside the area.
After half an hour played, Wycombe had grown into the game and were starting to exude some pressure of their own. Sam Vokes proved to be a handful for the Boro defence as expected and would have levelled matters but for a strong hand from Aaron Chapman to tip his effort round the post.
From the resulting corner, Chris Forino headed on target only to find the boot of Luke Norris who cleared from the goal line.
With just over five minutes to play before the break, it could have been two for Boro when the ball broke free to Alex Gilbey inside the Wycombe box. The Charlton loanee took the ball in his stride to shoot powerfully at goal, but Tyla Dickinson was equal to this one to deny Boro doubling their advantage.
Half-time came and Steve Evans’ men looked set for qualification from the group.
The second half started in a similar fashion to the first, with Stevenage playing on the front foot and taking the game to their visitors. Danny Rose tried his luck from 50 yards after Dickinson had ventured out of his box for a clearance, but the striker’s first-time effort was no need for Wycombe concern.
Five minutes later however, Danny Rose had his second of the match. Again, from a well built-up Stevenage attack, the ball came to Kane Smith wide on the right-hand side. As we’ve seen so often this morning, Smith whipped in a deep cross to the far post aiming for the head of Danny Rose. Like a salmon Rose leapt to head past Dickinson for the forward’s second of the game.
With fifteen minutes left to play, Wycombe looked to up the ante to get themselves back into this game. Jasper Pattenden’s cut inside from the right allowed him to shoot at goal on his left foot, which was blocked well by the head of Terence Vancooten.
Minutes later, Danny Rose continued his search for that hat-trick when he watched a lofted ball over his shoulder onto his right foot, only for his effort to be well saved and tipped behind for a corner.
From the resulting corner, Stevenage further extended their lead from the most unlikely of sources. Arthur Read’s in swinging corner found the head of Dan Sweeney six yards out, whose effort was cleared off the line but only as far as the boot of Terence Vancooten. From less than a yard out, Stevenage’s longest serving player finally got off the mark for Boro - just 1,890 days and 151 appearances later. A memorable moment for a player who continues to improve and impress at The Lamex Stadium.
A Boro performance to get back to winning ways and qualification from the group would have been the objectives ahead of kick-off, with expectations exceeded against League One opposition.
Attention now turns back to Sky Bet League Two as we host Harrogate Town this Saturday, looking for our tenth home win in a row in all competitions since April earlier this year.
Attendance: 717 inc. 97 away supporters.
THIS SATURDAY! Stevenage host Harrogate Town in Sky Bet League Two with tickets available from £18 Adults, £15 Concessions, £10 Under 18s and £5 Under 12s.