Stevenage bounced back from last week's defeat to Bradford City with victory over Wycombe Wanderers in the Papa John's Trophy.

But it was in the league where manager Steve Evans truly wanted to see a reaction and they got against, albeit late in a 1-0 success over Harrogate Town.

I could perhaps have been called grumpy after the Valley Parade loss, which was true, but how much better was this?

This is how I saw the Boro performance at a sunny and autumnal Lamex.

Stevenage 1 Harrogate Town 0 - Boro ratings

Taye Ashby-Hammond - 8

A stunning, one-handed reflex save after seven minutes not only saved Dan Sweeney's bacon but prevented Harrogate from gaining a huge dollop of confidence. That one moment highlighted another very solid display.

Max Clark - 6

One of a few players who didn't truly grasp the nettle after being put back in the starting XI. Wasn't bad but like his teammates, he never opened up Harrogate enough in the first period.

Carl Piergianni - 7

Wins headers for fun and almost scored himself in that bizarre second-half spell. Another find performance from the skipper.

Dan Sweeney - 6

As well as he took the late header for his first goal, this wasn't one of his better performances. There was that shocking pass in the first half that almost gifted Harrogate a goal and a poor miss six minutes before his winner. Redeemed himself at the death though.

Jake Taylor - 6

Denied a goal in a double save late in the first half and then headed straight at the keeper in the second but never got to grips with the midfield bar a few flashes of inspiration.

Luke Norris - 6

Works so hard but its getting to the stage where the lack of goals is becoming an issue. Got ahead of his marker in the first half but couldn't direct a header on goal.

Dean Campbell - 6

Played as the defensive midfielder and broke play up but also had someone marking him for a good period of time. Made it difficult for him to get on the ball and start spraying passes.

Kane Smith - 7

I thought he had a decent enough game, certainly delivered a number of telling crosses early in the second half. Wasn't his best showing, wasn't his worst either.

Terence Vancooten - 7

What he does when Stevenage are going forward is just as important as when they are defending. His pace meant Harrogate never had a chance to counter and it freed Piergianni and Sweeney to go forward for set-pieces.

Alex Gilbey - 8

Much better than Bradford. His range of passing is excellent with the two balls towards Sweeney late, the fluffed chance and the goal, prime examples of that. A real playmaker.

Danny Rose - 7

He had plenty of chances and was unlucky not to see any hit the back of the net. As long as he can stay fit and there is no flare up of the groin injury, he is going to be a huge player for Boro this year.

Substitutes - 9

Credit has to go to Steve Evans and the coaching staff for the quadruple change on 63 minutes. It added a massive impetus to Boro's improving attacking fortunes. Jamie Reid in particular looked sharp and desperate to prove a point.

Opposition players who caught the eye

Obviously Pete Jameson was the main one. The goalkeeper made half a dozen excellent stops which looked like it would frustrate Boro. Josh Coley buzzed around up front well enough but looks short of confidence in front of goal but overall this was a workmanlike if unspectacular outing for the North Yorkshire side.


Another late winner and deserved over the piece but there is a growing elephant in the room.

Taking the statistics on the BBC sport website, Boro have had 40 shots at goal in their last two league games but only hit the target with 11 of them and only one found its way into the net.

That is a statistic that needs to change quickly because while they have proved time and time again this season that they will go until the bitter end, on many occasions they could and should have wrapped up the game a lot earlier.

The first half against Harrogate wasn't good enough but the second half was a barrage of attack after attack.

A full, uninterrupted week of training will help hopefully because a struggling Crawley away is a very winnable contest, and by a good margin too.