Pett strengthens Stevenage’s play-off chances with winner against Portsmouth

Tom Pett scores for Stevenage

Tom Pett scores for Stevenage - Credit: Archant

Match report: Boro 1 Portsmouth 0

Stevenage celebrate

Stevenage celebrate - Credit: Archant

Tom Pett’s third minute winner fired Stevenage six points clear of their League 2 play-off rivals.

The winger tucked away a clearance from a corner to hand Boro the win over Portsmouth and strengthen Stevenage’s bid to bounce back up to League 1 at the first time of asking.

It was a third successive victory for Graham Westley’s men, but they were made to work for it.

Boro had the better of the first half, especially the opening 20 minutes with Pett the outstanding player, but Portsmouth came out fighting in the second half in a performance that left stand-in manager Gary Waddock disappointed his side didn’t pick up any points.

Stevenage made just the one change from the side that beat Northampton Town on Saturday, with Simon Walton coming in for Charlie Lee who was not 100 per cent.

It took just three minutes for the home side to make their mark, and they did so with a controlled, low strike from Pett.

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Tom Conlon held a free-kick up in the air for Bira Dembele to head back into the box, and when the ball was cleared to a lurking Pett the winger struck a superb shot into the corner and out of the reach of Paul Jones.

Portsmouth didn’t sulk and soon set about the task of clawing their way back into the game with Ryan Taylor’s cross finding Matt Tubbs who headed straight at Chris Day.

Pompey then lost Taylor to injury, with Craig Westcarr taking his place, but for the remainder of the half there was an inevitability that the teams would go into the break with Boro 1-0 up, and they did.

Portsmouth tried to get back on level terms at the start of the second period, and almost did when Dan Butler was put through on the left.

He did better than his previous noticeable contribution, a wayward cross that flew out of the ground, and sent a shot straight at Day which the goalkeeper pushed out of play.

The visitors had more of the possession at the start of the second period, but the introduction of Keith Keane into midfield and Charlie Lee in behind Chris Beardsley gave Boro an injection of energy.

Chris Whelpdale saw a shot deflected out for a corner while another was hit at Jones. At the other end, Westcarr converted a Butler cross only for the ‘goal’ to be ruled offside.

Stevenage have three matches remaining this season, starting at Accrington Stanley on Saturday.

Stevenage: Day, Bond, Okimo, Dembele, Wells, Whelpdale, Pett, Walton (Lee 57), Parrett, Conlon (Keane 57), Beardsley (Andrade 82). Subs: Beasant, Worley, Henry, Akinyemi.

Portsmouth: Jones, Webster, Devera, Taylor (Westcarr 27), Shorey, Dunne, Nosworthy, Atangana (Fogden 82), Hollands, Tubbs (McCallum 70), Butler. Subs: Poke, Ertl, Close, Chaplin.

Ref: Christopher Sarginson

Att: 3615 (703 away)

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