Stevenage manager says the objective for their trip to Tyneside was to get in the hat for the second round of the FA Cup so it was mission accomplished - even if he knows fine well it wasn't the easiest of afternoons.

The League Two side were in cruise control for the first 45 minutes away to National League Gateshead and even started the second period brightly before the hosts stung them with two goals in nine minutes.

And it needed a strike from Luke Norris and a whole heap of character to rescue a 3-2 victory.

Evans said: "We said to the boys on Thursday that we had an objective to be in the hat, whether that was in a replay, but we don’t need to see them again. 

"We’ve gone through and over the piece we probably deserved to go through but it could have been a much more comfortable day. 

"We got a professional performance in spells. We controlled the ball and passed it well but we have to take our chances to kill off a cup tie away to a non-league side. 

"I’m probably one of the famous non-league managers for causing upsets and I know what it takes. 

"When they got the first, I said to the staff it was game on and we were pleased to hear the referee’s final whistle.

"At least we can sit and watch the draw with a cup of cocoa."

The mental and intestinal fortitude of the group is something that has delighted the boss all season, and he was quick to praise it again.

"There is a lot of good character in this group," he said. "I’d go to war with them but maybe not on holiday with them.

"I think I’d be in a clinic if I went on holiday with them. 

"But they are a great group, they are fantastic and they encourage each other. 

"You only have to look at the celebration from the boys on the bench when Luke scores and we had some talent on that bench. 

"There were some big performances, a lot of character. When they got on top and we made the change, it changed the game. 

"As soon as I brought Michael on to steady the ship and moved TVC forward, then the boy [Adam] Campbell wasn’t become a nuisance anymore." 

The Stevenage manager had praise too for their own Campbell, Dean, who was drafted back into the starting 11.

Evans said: "Dean Campbell was magical until he got tired, which you’d expect, but he hit an array of passes and crosses and switched the play, which was nice to see. 

"I was pleased for him. We brought him in out of nowhere but he played a tough training ground game against Luton on Tuesday and the management at Luton were asking who he was. 

"That tells you a lot. 

"Until he collapsed with energy, I thought he was fantastic. That’s why he came off, the other two [of a triple substitution] were tactical." 

The only downside for the Boro was the sending off of Jordan Roberts with eight minutes to go, given a straight red card for kicking out while on the floor after a tackle.

"I need to look at the sending off," said Evans. "Two people have told me it is a red but if it is, what about the challenge on Jordan? 

"I’ve got no complaints with the referee, I thought he was alright for both sides, but it was the fourth official who gave the sending off. 

"If it looks a red, and I think it does, then Jordan will take his punishment and get on with it. 

"But if it doesn’t when we look at the footage, then we’ll appeal. 

"Jordan plays on the edge, that is his style and he was really effective for us, particularly in the first half. 

"They couldn’t deal with him at times, he was a cut above, and they have some good players and a good manager."