Goals from Carl Piergianni and Kane Smith give Stevenage the win to kick off the 2023/24 pre-season campaign…
Stevenage’s 2023/24 pre-season campaign kicked off in the nearby town of St Neots ahead of one of the most highly-anticipated seasons in the club’s history. Steve Evans brought his first-team with him alongside some exciting youngsters.
The returning Taye Ashby-Hammond started between the sticks behind a back four of Kane Smith, Terence Vancooten, Carl Piergianni and Dan Butler. Nick Freeman, Jake Forster-Caskey and Louis Thompson occupied the midfield with Theo Alexandrou, Elliott List and Josh March leading the line.
After just five minutes, Boro’s dominance was on show as they took the lead from a corner. It was Jake Forster-Caskey’s delivery which met the head of skipper, Carl Piergianni, who headed home to give the visitors the early lead.
The match was the first opportunity for Stevenage fans to see their new men in action, three of which were in the starting eleven. Nick Freeman had a powerful attempt on goal after fifteen minutes.
Elliott List returned to action after almost a year out through injury and nearly found the back of the net on his return, but his effort was blocked from close range.
As the half-hour mark approached, Boro grabbed their second goal of the afternoon. Josh March’s cross trickled through everyone before finding Kane Smith at the back post to tap in.
Boro could have increased their lead on multiple occasions in the first half if it wasn’t for James Goff in goal for St Neots. Nevertheless, Stevenage went into the break two goals ahead.
Steve Evans made ten changes at half-time with Ashby-Hammond remaining between the sticks. A back three of Luther James-Wildin, Nathan Thompson and youngster Kymani Skyers started the second-half.
Owen Cochrane and a trialist occupied the wing-back roles, either side of a midfield duo of Alex MacDonald and Ben Thompson. The new front three consisted of Jordan Roberts, Jamie Reid and sixteen-year-old Makise Evans.
Young right-back Owen Cochrane caught the eye with his dangerous balls forward and determination to win the ball. His defence-splitting pass found Jamie Reid who was unable to get full control of the ball in a dangerous position.
With ten minutes remaining, Ben Thompson carried the ball forward before taking aim, but his effort deflected out for a corner. Shortly after, young goalkeeper Rylee Mitchell replaced Taye Ashby-Hammond between the sticks.
Luther James-Wildin found plenty of space on the right-hand side before delivering a pinpoint cross to Makise Evans whose headed effort was denied.
Eventually the final whistle was blown to conclude a successful opener to the pre-season campaign. It was a great opportunity for players to get minutes in their legs, and youngsters to impress.
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