When Elliot Osborne took to the field at Crawley Town early in the second half he just wanted to make an impact - and one delightful curling shot into the far corner did just that and more.

It gave Stevenage a 1-0 win and lifts them nine points clear of the two relegation places and into touching distance of mid-table, Saturday's opponents Walsall are now just four points further ahead in 11th.

And the 24-year-old is happy to be playing his part.

He said: "Sometimes when you come on as a sub you have to make that impact just to help you get a start.

"I’ve been injured for a few months and I just wanted to do something, either today or whenever, just to make a statement to the gaffer.

"I want to play games and hopefully [the goal] might have done that."

An operation on an ankle injury after the first few games left him on the sidelines for almost three months.

But a few substitute appearances in recent weeks, as well as run outs for the reserves, is easing him back into the first-team picture.

“I played on Sunday against Brentford and scored in that one too,” he said.

“The gaffer has given me a bit longer tonight just to make an impact.

“I’m not struggling with my injury now but match fitness is harder to come by, especially with how big a squad we’ve got at the moment.

“Hopefully I’ll get a few more games and more game-time and I can be fully ready to go.”

His return comes as Stevenage continue to pick up points. The success over Crawley made it two 1-0 wins in three successive away games and was their seventh of the campaign.

Osborne said: "If you can keep a clean sheet away from home, you give yourself a chance of grabbing a goal.

“I’ve just looked at the league table and we’re now nine points clear of the relegation zone and if you’d said that two or three months ago, people would have laughed.

“But we’ve picked up a few points in a short space of time and we are doing really well.

“The team spirit is there, even though we have got a few players. We’re all in it together and there are no bad eggs in there.

“Everyone wants everyone else to do well and even at the end there, there was people who play in my position were coming up and saying ‘wow, what a strike’ and ‘you’ve done really well’.

“That’s what you need. Everyone is buzzing for each other and we all want to be part of something.

“And if we keep picking up points hopefully we can look at the top half of the table rather than the bottom.

“I said after I got injured that I didn’t want to be out and waste the season.

“I’m back now and I want to play games and score goals and we’ll see what we can do from now until the end of the season.”