Steve Evans was taking all the hurt and frustration from Stevenage's Carabao Cup exit at the hands of Charlton Athletic and focusing on the positives - one of which is they have now proved they can mix it with League One clubs.

A Luke Norris penalty in the first half had given them a 1-0 lead but what followed was a catalogue of missed chances, punished by Chuks Aneke's equaliser and then the shoot-out defeat.

But after a victory over Peterborough United in the previous round, and the performance against the Valiants at the Lamex, the Boro boss was feeling justifiably proud of his players.

Evans said: "I never had the feeling they were in the cup tie until the last 10 minutes. 

"We outplayed them, out passed them, out fought them, out worked them and we were the much better side. 

"We should have been three or four ahead at the interval but if you don’t take your chances, 1-0 is always a delicate score-line. 

"We got punished for that but the performance was terrific considering we were five players light, it was everything we asked for.

"We demonstrated we could play at their level.

"The boys gave everything and I couldn’t have asked for much more. I didn’t need to tell them. They knew they’d missed gilt-edged chances."

Stevenage knew they would be without both Alex Gilbey (on loan from Charlton) and Jordan Roberts (suspended) but they ended up making five changes and naming just five substitutes.

Kane Smith is out for another "10 days with a wee knock" while Jake Reeves reported ill that morning.

Evans is not too concerned about the stresses on the squad.

"We’re not light," he said. "We’re in good shape and there’s nobody out for any length of time. 

"There are no excuses from the bench point of view. 

"There’s an excuse because we worked on something with Jake which we then had to change when we knew he wasn’t with us. 

"I can’t criticise my team, you can’t criticise the performance. They’re devastated."