Disappointment and frustration reigned for Steve Evans as Stevenage were knocked out of the Carabao Cup on penalties at Exeter City.

The two sides had drawn 1-1 after 90 minutes, Alex Hartridge putting the home side in front after just five minutes with a very poor goal from a Boro point of view before Jordan Roberts equalised after great work by debutant Harry Anderson.

The shootout though got away from the visitors, Dan Butler scuffing his effort to give Exeter a 5-3 win.

Evans said: "There is no doubt they are better than us in the first 15 minutes and they get the advantage of the early goal. 

"[Finley] Burns switches off, he was the designated marker and he was nowhere near him. 

"That’s a couple of times now so he needs to learn from that and quickly. 

"We had to then grow into the game, we had to change the shape to do that and for long spells we were by far the better team. 

"We need some more quality in the final third and we need some more good options off the bench, but we are struggling for personnel as people know. 

"[After the break] they were attacking the home end and they have good players, they are a good team. 

"They moved the ball around and they hurt us at times, but we dug in. 

"We found a way to get back in the game with the goal and we found a way to counter attack although we probably need to do better with three or four other things." 

The positives that could be taken from the evening was the sight of injured stars Anderson, Elliott List and Dan Sweeney all involved, the last two from the start with Sweeney going on to play the full 90.

"We thought we’d get 45 minutes out of Elliott," said the Boro boss, "but he is such a threat when he gets the ball. 

"He was unlucky not to score in the first half, it was a great strike and it was a great save in fairness.

"But the wee man started to cramp up and we said to him when that happens, just sit down and we’ll remove you. 

"And he did but my first words to him were ‘how are you’ and he said apart from tired, I’m good.

"I said the same thing to Dan and Harry and it’s like having three new signings. 

"We should have Luther James-Wildin and Nick Freeman back by the end of the week too so we are getting stronger."

And it wasn't just the injured trio who caught the gaffer's eye.

Evans said: "I gave a young man [Theo Alexandrou] his debut and it was a really hard game to come into as they are a good League One side. 

"But he worked incredibly hard. We just wanted a different style and different attributes in there. 

"It was a promising debut for him and I’m really pleased with Reece Hannam. He played in front of Dan Butler and gave them a problem. He did really well. 

"We’re disappointed for the fans after they travelled all this way and we’re disappointed to go out. 

"But we’ll freshen the boys up and we will be ready for Leyton Orient on Saturday."

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