Sometimes promotion is won in the strangest ways and at the most unexpected times - and the manner of the victory for Stevenage at Wigan Athletic could be huge come the end of the season.

Twice Boro had to equalise, through Jamie Reid in the first half and then Carl Piergianni after the break.

But with nine minutes to go, Louis Thompson picked his moment and picked his spot to give Boro a 3-2 win.

That it wasn't a more handsome and comfortable success was down to their own shortcomings, poor defending giving Wigan the lead through a Josh Magennis penalty and then Therlo Aasgaard

It'll be harsh to focus on that though after the three points were sealed in the way they were and with Barnsley and Oxford United both losing, Boro are back into the play-off positions.

It had been two weeks since their last game, a 1-0 win at Shrewsbury Town, and three new arrivals had turned up at the Lamex Stadium in the meantime.

Manager Steve Evans' first decision at the DW Stadium was in goal, with Craig MacGillivray given the nod over Taye Ashby-Hammond

One of the other new signings, Vadaine Oliver, was another starter while the third new face, Nesta Guinness-Walker, began the afternoon on the bench.

Dan Sweeney, Jordan Roberts and Harvey White were the others to come in for the five changes.

Jake Forster-Caskey, Terence Vancooten, Aaron Pressley and Ben Thompson joined Ashby-Hammond in stepping aside.

Whether the new look side had anything to do with the first-half performance is up for debate, but both team hardly covered themselves in glory defensively.

That started early for Stevenage when a cross from the right was handled above his head by Sweeney.

He claimed a push but that seemed negligible and Magennis sent MacGillivray the wrong way.

Wigan were understandably lifted by the start and won a corner soon after as they continued to go forward.

Inexplicably then, they decided to throw away all that momentum in a couple of minutes.

Nick Freeman and Luther James-Wildin linked up well down the right but the cross from the latter was just too high for Reid and he could only glance it wide.

However, the Latics then decided, not for the first time in the afternoon, to take the goal kick short.

Boro pressed, forced a corner and then a throw, and when the ball came in from the right, Reid had all the time in the world to steer a side-footed volley to the left of Sam Tickle.

It was now the visitors turn to go on the offensive and while they didn't force any saves out of the Wigan keeper, they did have chances.

A couple of shooting opportunities from free-kicks were blocked and crosses into the box did cause the home side bother, as did their stubbornness to keep taking short goal kicks.

However, they were then given the momentum back by another odd bit of defending.

A free-kick in from the right was not dealt with by James-Wildin and dropped loose on the edge of the six-yard box.

The defender then hesitated as the keeper came to collect before he too had second thoughts and went motionless.

Aasgaard didn't stand still though and he poked it past the debutant to restore Athletic's lead.

Carl Piergianni had a glorious chance nicked off his toes in stoppage time but right at the end Wigan though they had scored a third.

Sean Clare put  a corner away only to have his celebrations cut short by the linesman indicating the ball had gone out of play before coming back in.

Stevenage were out two minutes earlier than their hosts, no doubt with fresh instructions and a few ringing lugs.

They had a glorious chance to level again just two minutes in but Reid, by his own high standards, guided a header from six yards wide of the post.

The marksman then drilled a free-kick on the edge of the D low and wide of the post and Stevenage's persistence was cause for optimism.

Wigan felt they needed to freshen it and made a double substitution, followed moments later by a triple change for Boro, Evans too deciding more was needed.

Or at least that was the plan as with the trio stripped and ready to go, Freeman lifted a cross to the back post where Piergianni nodded it back across goal, dropping over Tickle into the corner.

The replacements did eventually come on, within seven minutes of the goal, and with nine minutes to go, one of them had an impact.

A period of pressure eventually saw the ball come to the edge of the box where both Thompson and Finley Burns had an chance to shoot but opted to pass to the side.

The next pass back to Thompson though was hit, and with a bit of bend, it found the corner to the right of the keeper.

One of the subs then departed, 13 minutes after arriving, List sacrificed for Alex MacDonald.





Match details

Stevenage: MacGillivray, James-Wildin (L.Thompson 69), Butler, Piergianni, Sweeney, Freeman, Roberts, Burns, White (Guinness-Walker 73), Reid, Oliver (List 73, MacDonald 86).

Sub (not used): Ashby-Hammond, Vancooten, Pressley.

Goals: Reid 15, Piergianni 66, L.Thompson 81

Booked: Burns 55, Piergianni 62, Freeman 83, Roberts 83


Wigan Athletic: Tickle, Hughes, Clare, M.Smith, Aasgaard (McManaman 84), Jones, Kerr (Humphrys 84), Shaw (Sessegnon 63), J.Smith (Godo 63), Chambers, Magennis (Wyke 78).

Subs (not used): Amos, Morrison.

Goals: Magennis (pen) 5, Aasgaard 38

Booked: Shaw 54, Jones 56, Humphrys 90+4


HT: Wigan Athletic 2 Stevenage 1

Added time: 5

Referee: Ben Toner (Lancashire)

Attendance: 8,804 (including 332 from Stevenage)