Stevenage allowed Hartlepool United to knock them off their game says manager Steve Evans - but he was grateful for the three points.

Danny Rose's impish winner 10 minutes from time handed Boro three points that keeps them firmly in the League Two promotion race.

It was anything but easy though against a Pools side scrapping for their lives under new manager Keith Curle at the other end of the table.

For Evans though, part of the problem was caused by themselves.

He said: "They came to stifle us in everything we did but we didn't rise above that and help ourselves. 

"For the first 60 minutes it became a central midfield battle. 

"Arguably they had the better chances and we then got involved in winning the battle rather than playing.

"When we made the changes, you saw the difference in the tempo. 

"We were fortuitous that Rosey got the goal he does but we could have scored four or five in that last 10 minutes. 

"To win games in this league is really tough but the boys have got us a win when we weren’t at our best." 

He held his hands up as well and said he was probably the one to blame.

A switch from the usual back three to a back four didn't work in the way he expected and even when the system was changed at the start of the second half, it took a triple substitution to pull things around.

"We over analysed Hartlepool to be fair," said the Boro boss. "Since Keith and Colin West have gone in, they have done a sterling job. 

"They are good people, very knowledgeable, and they know what they are doing. 

"And it’s my fault, nobody elses, but we had different options and we knew after about 30 minutes we were going to change the shape, it was when we were going to do it. 

"We took that opportunity at half-time and I was pleased when we changed it. 

"You could see what it meant to the boys when we scored.

"We never reached the heights we did against Charlton [in the Carabao Cup] but three points was what we wanted when we came here and we delivered the objective without being at our best."

Evans also made a substitution in the first half, replacing Jake Taylor with Jake Reeves, a move which did not look tactical at the time and turned out to be injury-related.

The manager said: "Jake Taylor was outstanding against Charlton and we decided to stick with him but he felt his groin tighten up. 

"He wasn’t affecting the game because there was no room for him to make his runs and create that tempo. 

"Where we changed the game was when we introduced [Dean] Campbell, more than any other player. 

"He sat off the play, he’s got a wonderful left foot, and when we left the training ground yesterday, Dean was playing. 

"We changed our mind but he deserves enormous credit for his performance."