Stevenage produced the most beautiful of fairy-tale endings to send Aston Villa out of the FA Cup.

Morgan Sanson took full advantage of the one lapse in concentration in defence by the League Two side to put Villa ahead in the first half.

That looked to be it but with five minutes to go, and complacency creeping into Villa's play, Leander Dendoncker was robbed of the ball on the edge of his own area by Dean Campbell.

The defender hauled him back, outside the area, but then tripped him inside the box just for good measure.

He was sent off after a VAR check and Jamie Reid scored the penalty.

And with the Premier League side reeling, Campbell picked up a corner on 90 minutes and rifled a shot low inside the near post to spark wild excitement among the 3,000 travelling fans.

The final whistle magnified that even more with Steve Evans leading the celebrations at the end as Villa Park deserted after a chorus of boos.

Stevenage knew they would be without their two new signings with both Jake Forster-Caskey and Darryl Horgan cup-tied.

They were stung though by the absence of Alex Gilbey, suffering with an injury that happened late on.

The fact he wasn't recalled by Charlton only slightly eased that disappointment.

His place went to Jake Taylor in the only change from the side that ground out a 1-0 win at home to Gillingham on Monday.

Aston Villa on the other hand made eight changes from their midweek draw with Wolves, only Matty Cash, Douglas Luiz and Leon Bailey retaining their place.

They still had the likes of Danny Ings, Callum Chambers and Philippe Coutinho coming in though and the bench was stacked too, and included Stevenage-born Ashley Young, World Cup-winning goalkeeper Emi Martinez and England international Tyrone Mings.

The boss had said in his pre-match press conference that he didn't want to be embarrassed. That was certainly not the case, especially in the first half.

He also said he hoped VAR would be fair for both sides and he got a taste of the technology on 17 minutes.

A break saw Jordan Roberts put Luke Norris away down the left. His low cross was swept home by Danny Rose but his joy was tempered by the sight of the offside flag.

That would have been that had it been at the Lamex but with the video assist available, it was used, eventually deciding that the lean of Norris's body put him ahead of the defender and ruling the goal out.

In the end the goal against would have been the only reason for disappointment after an impressive first-half.

Sanson's strike was the one time the defence had been caught out, both Max Clark and Carl Piergianni attracted to the ball and into attempting a tackle.

When they missed it, the ball was flicked round the corner to the Villa man who had time to pick his spot with a low drive across Taye Ashby-Hammond.

The hosts had the majority of the ball in the first half, again totally expected by the Boro management, but they failed to get through on any other occasion.

Coutinho had the only real attempts from Villa but two of them flew high and very wide while the third looped down the throat of the Boro keeper.

The one other big chance for Stevenage was an audacious strike from Norris that curled in from way out on the left, clipping the crossbar on its way over with Robin Olsen beaten.

Villa started the second half brightly and early pressure almost brought a second but Leon Bailey's shot was dragged wide.

There was a definite increase in tempo from the Premier League side but they weren't testing Ashby-Hammond for all their territory.

The one big chance they had was poked an inch wide by Chambers.

And while it remained 1-0, Stevenage were always in the game. A corner raised hopes but Piergianni couldn't direct his header or get any power in it as he stretched to reach it.

Both sides also started to use their benches although Stevenage would have been frustrated to see Norris pull up just after taking Rose off.

But they would have liked the rise in angry voices from the Holte End as another petered out for Villa without even remotely causing a problem.

All 10 subs were used by the 83rd minute. If something was going to happen, it had to happen soon.

It did.


Stevenage: Ashby-Hammond, James-Wildin, Clark (Campbell 63), Reeves, Piergianni, Sweeney, Taylor (Smith 67), Norris (Amoo 67), Roberts, Vancooten (Bostwick 83), Rose (Reid 63).

Sub (not used): Chapman.

Goals: Reid (pen) 88, Campbell 90


Aston Villa: Olsen, Cash (Watkins 72), Luiz, Sanson (Ranson 66), Ings (A.Young 72), Chambers, Augustinsson (Digne 81), Bednarek, Coutinho (Buendia 66), Bailey, Dendoncker.

Subs (not used): Martinez, Mings, Kamara, K.Young.

Goal: Sanson 33

Sent off: Dendoncker 86


HT: Aston Villa 1 Stevenage 0

Referee: Graham Scott (Abingdon)

Attendance: 32,343