A dream start for Stevenage paved the way for a potentially crucial victory over Leyton Orient.

Jamie Reid and Jordan Roberts scored inside the first 11 minutes and their cause was further boosted when Idris El Mizouni was sent off in the final minute of the first half for two yellow cards.

There was a brief flurry of defiance from the visitors at the start of the second period but it had died a death long before Luke Norris broke clear to make it a huge 3-0 success.

The result keeps Steve Evans' men second in the table but they are now just two points behind and with a game in hand, to be played on Tuesday at Swindon Town.

There were two changes for Stevenage for the side that started at both Aston Villa and Harrogate Town in the last two games.

In came the fit again Alex Gilbey and Jamie Reid, Jake Taylor and Luke Norris missing out, Taylor altogether and Norris dropping to the bench.

Orient also had two changes from their last outing, a 0-0 with Barrow, but five from the starting XI from the game with Boro in December.

If a Danish brewery were to do first-halves of football, this would pretty much have been it.

Boro led after six minutes.

A free-kick from Taye Ashby-Hammond was flicked into the box by Dan Sweeney. It found Reid who had stolen in behind the defence and he flicked a header beyond the advancing Lawrence Vigouroux.

Five minutes later it was two.

Roberts picked the ball up on the right side of the penalty box. He had options to cross to but chose to cut inside and when he moved a few yards to his left, he unleashed a low drive inside the near post.

With that start behind them, Boro went for solidity and attacks on the break and for the remainder of the half, it worked a treat.

Orient had possession but it was all in areas that never looked like troubling the hosts, and indeed never did.

A couple of shots was the best they could muster, one blocked and claimed by Ashby-Hammond and the other wide of the target.

Sweeney had a well-struck drive that also flew wide while Jake Reeves sent a shot over the top while off balance.

But there was more joy to come for Boro and a daft booking from Idris El Mizouni, picking the ball up when he thought he'd been fouled, earned him a second yellow.

From the free-kick that ensured Stevenage felt they had won a penalty, Ruel Sotiriou flicking the ball away with his hand.

The linesman on the side of the main stand didn't move though.

Orient had only scored one goal in the last five games and had never scored three away from home since October.

One sub had already been made in the first half, a tactical switch that came with Vigouroux going down but not looking injured.

A second sub came at the break and even with 10 men, the Orient fans sensed the tide could turn.

Strangely the best chance fell to Stevenage, Carl Piergianni meeting a Reeves corner with a bullet header six yards out but somehow Vigouroux was able to flick it over the top.

It was still Orient pushing though but they were still struggling to test the Boro keeper.

And the longer the clock ticked on, the more the momentum drained out of the visitors.

There was another shout for a Boro penalty in the middle of a scramble that Orient defended with desperate blocks and then Vigouroux made a good save from a Gilbey strike that bounced just in front of him.

And the icing was applied in the first minute of stoppage time.

Norris had only been on the pitch for less than two minutes when he raced in alone and beat Vigouroux with ease.

The goal, like the final whistle, was greeted with rapturous noise from the near 7,000 crowd.


Stevenage: Ashby-Hammond, James-Wildin, Clark, Reeves, Piergianni (Bostwick 90+2), D.Sweeney, Roberts, Vancooten (Tomkinson 90+2), Gilbey (Campbell 90+4), Reid (Horgan 90+2), Rose (Norris 89).

Subs (not used): Chapman, Forster-Caskey.

Goals: Reid 6, Roberts 11, Norris 90+1

Booked: Vancooten 19


Leyton Orient: Vigouroux, Thompson (Smith 35), Smyth (Archibald 67), Sotiriou (Moncur 83), Brown, El Mizouni, Pratley, Kelman (Clay 46), Hunt, McCart, Turns.

Subs (not used): Sargeant, Lyden, J.Sweeney.

Booked: EL Mizouni 36, 45, Smith 47, Piergianni 70

Sent-off: El Mizouni 45


HT: Stevenage 2 Leyton Orient 0

Referee: Scott Oldham

Attendance: 6,989 (1,382 from Orient)