Conlon inspires Stevenage to huge win over Hartlepool United

Tom Conlon scored his first senior goal against Hartlepool. Picture: DANNY LOO

Tom Conlon scored his first senior goal against Hartlepool. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Archant

Tom Conlon’s first goals in senior football lit up a chilly Victoria Park – and helped Stevenage to a 2-1 win over Hartlepool United.

The youngster had only been on the pitch for six minutes, replacing an injured Dean Parrett, when he unleashed a beauty of a strike as the first-half ticked into stoppage time.

His second was less spectacular but just as important as it brought Boro’s first win in 10.

Billy Paynter made it a nervy affair late on when he pulled one back but the cheers of Stevenage’s small band of fans drowned out the boos from the home support.

It was always going to take something special to beat Hartlepool’s keeper Trevor Carson and it was certainly a special way to open your senior account.

Conlon played a one-two with Ronnie Henry before dancing across the edge of the box and unleashing a howitzer of a shot straight into the top corner.

Carson had been responsible fortwo outstanding saves early on.

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First he dived to his left to push a Tom Pett effort around the post before producing an even better stop low to his right to deny Luke Wilkinson’s header.

It was no surprise that Stevenage’s blistering start would slow and when it did, Jamie Jones showed he too could come up big when required, palming away a Carl Magnay effort as Hartlepool attempted to get back into the game.

That need grew seven minutes into the second-half when Conlon got his second.

This one was from all of four yards, tapping in after Aaron O’Connor’s shot had been parried by Carson.

The impressive Ryan Hedges should have made it three on the hour when he pounced on a sloose pass in the Pools area but the defence somehow got back to block.

Paynter side-footed in a Jordan Richards cross on 68 minutes and the right-back forced Jones into another fine save shortly after.

And for a time it looked as if it would be forever known as the one that got away.

Keith Keane cleared off the line and there were countless blocks, as Stevenage frantically defended.

It proved to be enough and brought a vital, yet well-deserved, three points.

Stevenage: Jones, Wilkinson, Hedges (Cox 81), O’Connor, Pett (Gorman 87), Parrett (Conlon 39), Wells, Lee, Henry, Keane, Ogilvie

Subs (not used): Day, Franks, Zanzala, Johnson

Goals: Conlon 45+1, 52

Hartlepool: Carson, Richards, Bates, Jackson, Carroll, Hawkins (Fenwick 59), Gray (Laurent 81), Magnay, Thomas (Bingham 81), Paynter, James

Subs (not used): Bartlett, Harrison, Jones, Featherstone

Goals: Paynter 68

Attendance: 3,308 (26 from Stevenage)