Stevenage shifted themselves back into the top three with a victory over AFC Wimbledon at a jubilant Lamex Stadium.

Goals from Jordan Roberts and Jamie Reid meant that Ali Al-Hamadi's equaliser counted for nothing, the home side winning 2-1.

It wasn't always pretty but it was a win that was needed after three draws, simply to lift the spirits again, and because seven of the top eight avoided defeat too.

Another success on Tuesday back here against Doncaster Rovers would really increase the belief. 

There was good and bad news with the announcement of three changes from the draw at Hartlepool.

The downside was Terence Vancooten out altogether with a reoccurrence of his hamstring injury.

However, the good news was the return of Jake Reeves who went straight into the starting line-up.

Kane Smith and Jake Forster-Caskey were the others to come in for Luther James-Wildin and Michael Bostwick, those pair moving on to the bench.

It meant a back-four and a more attacking line-up, which paid benefits in four minutes.

Forster-Caskey lifted a free-kick from the right towards the back post where it was met by Carl Piergianni.

The skipper's nod back across goal seemed to take an age and cause everyone to play that childhood game of statues before Roberts knocked it in from close range.

It was the ideal start which sent Boro back into the top three.

And then the defensive frailties that have haunted Steve Evans' men of late returned again.

It was a good finish, Ali Al-Hamadi turning inside the box and firing past a static Thimothee Lo-Tutala after he had been fed by Saikou Janneh.

But the way the forward was allowed to get his shot in, despite Dan Sweeney being touch tight to him, should never had happened.

It was Wimbledon's first attempt on target and it brought a sense of foreboding around the Lamex, and a few nerves among the Boro squad.

They failed to find their rhythm again after that, even if Forster-Caskey and Max Clark were linking up well down the left, with the nearest chance being a scrambled clearance when Smith and Reid went looking to knock the ball in.

The best opportunity of the half came at the end, and for the visitors.

It was a free-kick from Lee Brown that was lifted from the left to the back post where Will Nightingale met it, the attempt seemingly bouncing off the post and running across the six-yard box.

It eventually found its way to Kasey McAteer and although he struck it very well, he cut across it and it swerved wide of the post, just.

Stevenage had mustered just two chances at goal in the first period, the goal being the only one on target, and amid a muted half-time, the hope was the dressing room had been livelier.

There was a little bit more fight, Roberts and Reid winning the ball back after a tussle by the corner flag was a pleasing sight and it roused some of the home fans.

There was still no glimpses of goal though for the home side, the first corner of the afternoon on 57 minutes headed clear and one flick-on by Danny Rose going harmlessly through to Nik Tzanev.

And yet suddenly Stevenage were in front.

Reid had fluffed an attempt at goal with an air-shot but then he showed great awareness to get in and intercept a poor header back from Jack Currie.

It was never going to reach Tzanev who was in no-man's land when Reid lobbed him.

It brought the crowd to their feet and injected some belief in the side, even if some of the younger, more moronic fans tried to use it as an excuse to bait the away support.

The Boro squad, and Roberts in particular, used it to raise their game further.

The forward starting chasing back, winning tackles and rescuing lost causes.

He even found time to lift it back across the area to Jake Taylor who hit the side netting from a tight angle.

It always looked like Boro were in control but they had to survive one more let-off when Al-Hamadi hooked an effort wide from a central position four yards out.

It meant nerves, and a booking for Evans, who felt the ref had played much longer than the four additional minutes.

But the win was what mattered.


Stevenage: Lo-Tutala, Clark, Reeves (Taylor 69), Piergianni, Sweeney, Roberts, Smith (James-Wildin 69), Gilbey, Reid, Forster-Caskey (Bostwick 86), Rose.

Subs (not used): Pryzbek, Campbell, Horgan.

Goals: Roberts 4, Reid 61

Booked: Bostwick 90, Rose 90+4, Evans 90+5


AFC Wimbledon: Tzanev, Gunter, Brown, Woodyard (Bartley 85), Nightingale, Janneh, Jaiyesimi, Al-Hamdi, Little (Marsh 15), McAteer, Currie (Jenkins 90+5).

Subs (not used): Broome, Bendle, Adjei-Hersey, Ogundere.

Goal: Al-Hamadi 11

Booked: Nightingale 82


HT: Stevenage 1 AFC Wimbledon 1

Referee: James Bell (Sheffield)

Attendance: 4,062 (including 694 from Wimbledon)