A double from Jamie Reid sent Stevenage top of League One - but they were denied all three points by a smash and grab from Carlisle United.

Reid had scored in both halves and his second on 74 minutes looked to have given them a deserved success.

However, an equaliser from Garner that the linesman said had crossed the line left the final score at 2-2.

Exeter City's loss to Leyton Orient meant Boro did hit the summit but not in the way anyone would have wanted.

There were eight changes from the side that were held at AFC Wimbledon in Tuesday's EFL Trophy match but just the one from the XI that handsomely dispatched of Leyton Orient last time out in the league.

Luther James-Wildin was the man missing form that squad at Brisbane Road, Louis Thompson coming in.

The bench saw some changes though.

Rylee Mitchell continued to deputise for the internationally compromised Krisztian Hegyi while Harvey White and Kane Hemmings were both in line for league debuts for Boro.

Harry Anderson was, however, the latest to join the treatment required list.

A positive start brought a deserved lead on 15 minutes.

Dan Butler took a free-kick on halfway, dumping it to the edge of the area where Carl Piergianni won the flick on.

And of the 22 players on the pitch, only one was on the move, Reid coming through the crowd to flick it beyond Jokull Andresson, the Carlisle keeper who was briefly on loan at the Lamex last year.

And with the crowd buoyant about being top of the league, the players started to play with a similar confidence.

But ironically, it was as they tried to unpick the Carlise backline that they conceded.

Jordan Roberts tried to thread the ball through to Reid but Carlisle thumped the ball away.

It flew to the other end of the pitch where Sean Maguire had ran in behind Nathan Thompson and as defender and goalkeeper hesitated, the Cumbrian man took possession of the ball, moved it left and sneaked it beyond the recovering Stevenage duo and inside the near post.

It was undeserved but a perfect example of playing to the whistle.

The Boro bench felt it was clearly offside but it was difficult to see from the TV replay. Paul Rayner received a yellow for his protestations.

And that threw a spanner in Boro's efforts, as they struggled to reach the same heights for the remainder of the half.

They did create a couple of glorious chances but Charlie McNeill lifted a shot over and Reid forced Andresson to save with his foot with McNeill in space to his left.

McNeill saw no further action as Hemmings did come on for his league debut at the break.

But the start to the second period was just what was needed - bright, positive and on the front foot.

Roberts sent in an early cross that was so delicious, it would have won the Great British Bake Off in the first week.

However, not one person in a Boro shirt reacted to it.

The momentum swing prompted Paul Simpson to make a switch for the away side, as did the backchat from the already booked Jordan Gibson.

It was a triple change but it had almost zero impact as Boro continued to turn the screw.

Piergianni went close twice as the home side forced corner after corner.

First his header back across goal came back off the crossbar before a second header was clawed away at his near post by Andresson.

Hemmings also set up Reid but the striker fluffed his shot.

The drinks break had seemingly derailed the Boro push but they suddenly found themselves on the break after Louis Thompson had flicked the ball forward.

Roberts got on it and after twisting one way and then the other, he switched the ball to the right.

Reid still had a lot to do and had no right in finding the net from the angle but with the ball at his right foot, he fired low in off the keeper.

He almost had his hat-trick after shrugging off two defenders but this time Andresson's foot kicked the shot away.

Hemmings also blasted over with a rash shot from a good position and those misses proved crucial as Garner's header at the back post from a corner crept over the line despite the attentions of post and Ashby-Hammond.

Match details

Stevenage: Ashby-Hammond, Butler, N.Thompson, Piergianni, Sweeney, Freeman, Roberts, Burns, Reid (List 90+1), L.Thompson (B.Thompson 79), McNeill (Hemmings 46).

Sub (not used): Mitchell, MacDonald, White, Neal. 

Goals: Reid 15, 74

Booked: Rayner (bench) 21, McNeill 37, Roberts 72


Carlisle United: Andresson, Back, Armer, Moxon, Lavelle, Huntington, Gibson (McAlmont 57), Guy (Plange 84), Mellish, Maguire (Ablade 57), Kayode (Garner 57).

Subs (not used): Holy, Whelan, Robinson.

Goals: Maguire 20, Garner 90

Booked: Gibson 32, Moxon 83


HT: Stevenage 1 Carlisle United 1

Added time: 13

Referee: Darren Drysdale (Digby, Lincolnshire)

Attendance: 4,228 (including 428 from Carlisle)