For 70 minutes, the Stevenage plan was working but their hopes of another dream day in the FA Cup were dashed in the latter stages at Stoke City.

Jamie Reid had pounced for Boro to cancel out a Jacob Brown goal for the Championship hosts, scored after three minutes.

But Josh Laurent restored Stoke's lead on 73 minutes and with 10 minutes to go a Lewis Baker penalty ended the League Two side's efforts.

It was another game that showed the fighting spirit of Steve Evans' team and with all their cup exploits over for the season, eyes will now turn to see if they can carry on their stellar league form and secure promotion.

The Boro boss opted for no changes from the massive victory over Leyton Orient, Alex Gilbey and Reid being the two differences to the side who began at Villa Park.

Stoke meanwhile had four new faces in the starting line-up despite their 4-0 success over Reading last time out.

The plan from Evans was to stay in the tie until the final 15 minutes when they could go for it, the same plan that worked so well at Aston Villa.

A goal against would have been thought about but not one after just three minutes.

And the manner of it would not have sat well with the Boro boss. Brown was left in way too much space following a flick-on from a corner and he fired low into the net.

Stoke had the better of the possession stats, a fact that wouldn't have been too much of a surprise, and it allowed them to create a couple of chances.

Boro goalkeeper Taye Ashby-Hammond was in no mood to allow them through for another and he made two great saves.

The first was from Bersant Celina, the second from Will Smallbone. Both were pushed behind with diving stops.

Max Clark also cleared one off the line as Stoke pushed with Boro's only real chance of note coming from Reid.

That volley went wide though.

Injuries were the other part of the half. Stoke lost Connor Taylor, replaced by 40-year-old Phil Jagielka.

Boro meanwhile had Terence Vancooten going off with a knock, replaced by Jake Taylor and there was also a tactical switch when Dean Campbell came on for Jordan Roberts.

A third change came at the break, Jonathan Tomkinson on for Clark, and the final switches came 11 minutes into the second period as Luke Norris and Kane Smith came on.

Ashby-Hammond still had to make a third top save but the clock was ticking closer and closer to the final stages and the time that Evans had highlighted.

Reid had a shot on the turn that Jack Bonham saved and there was hope among the travelling faithful, even if Celina crashed an effort off the crossbar shortly afterwards.

And the hope was realised on 70 minutes.

Taylor beat Sterling to the ball and Reid darted in behind. His shot was poked past the keeper and Stevenage-born Ben Wilmot couldn't clear despite getting to it on the line.

However, the next 10 minutes ripped the heart out of the Stevenage fans.

Stoke took three minutes to get their noses in front again and it was a beauty, a strike from Laurent flying into the top corner from 25 yards out.

And with 10 minutes to go, a harsh penalty award, given for a foul by Tomkinson on Brown, allowed Baker to make it 3-1.

Replays though proved the on-loan Norwich defender had got something on the ball.

There was one shout for a penalty of their own when Taylor went down and a late shot from Dan Sweeney that was denied by Bonham.

They will take plenty of memories from the run though and will look to make more in the remainder of the season.


Stevenage: Ashby-Hammond, James-Wildin, Clark (Tomkinson 46), Reeves, Piergianni, Sweeney, Roberts (D.Campbell 18), Vancooten (J.Taylor 43), Gilbey (Smith 56), Reid, Rose (Norris 56).

Subs (not used): Chapman, Bostwick.

Goal: Reid 70


Stoke City: Bonham, Brown, T.Campbell (Fox 77), Tymon, Thompson, Wilmot, Smallbone (Baker 62), Sterling (Hoever 77), Celina, Laurent, C.Taylor (Jagielka 17).

Subs (not used): Fielding, Kilkenny, Wright-Phillips, Macari, Tezgel.

Goals: Brown 3, Laurent 73, Baker (pen) 80

Booked: Smallbone 50


HT: Stoke City 1 Stevenage 0

Referee: David Webb (Lancashire)

Attendance:  (3,291 from Stevenage)