Stevenage suddenly reminded everyone why they are in the hunt for promotion from League Two - as they battled back to a hugely-important victory.

Carl Piergianni and an own-goal had turned a 1-0 half-time deficit into a 2-1 lead in the space of six minutes around the hour.

But when Ali Al-Hamadi grabbed his and Wimbledon's second, it looked as if the spoils would be shared.

Luke Norris though had other ideas as he volleyed Boro back in front with a thunderous effort seven minutes from time for a 3-2 win.

The second-half performance still had its moments of panic but from what has been seen over the last month, it was like the end of a storm.

And if they can produce this more often than not for the remainder of the season, all doubt and grumbles will be removed.

There was definitely a need to freshen things up and Steve Evans made four changes from the disappointing loss at home to Tranmere Rovers.

Fit again Luther James-Wildin, Jake Taylor, Daryl Horgan and Jamie Reid came in for Kane Smith, Michael Bostwick, Jordan Roberts and Danny Rose.

The new personnel meant a change in formation to a 4-4-2 and for the first eight minutes there was a lot of gesticulating from the Boro bench as they looked to tighten up on everybody's roles.

By that point though, Wimbledon could have had two.

Taylor had to nick the ball of the toes of Kasey McAteer after just 32 seconds while in the next minute Al-Hamadi broke through.

He was stopped by the toe of Piergianni but it still gave Josh Davison sight of goal.

Fortunately for the away side he blazed well over the top.

He had another chance on 15 minutes when he was left in acres of space on the edge of the area.

Savin though was equal to it, sticking his right hand down to the floor and pushing the drive away.

The goalkeeper then pulled off another good save from Al-Hamadi after the nippy forward got in behind the defence.

Those stops had been excellent but then the on-loan Accrington Stanley stopper had a moment to forget.

There still didn't appear to be much danger when Armani Little eventually curled in a cross from the left wing.

Savin though was tempted to come for it and he got nowhere near, the ball floating over his head and arms before being turned towards the empty net by Al-Hamadi.

It meant Boro had a little more than 50 minutes to find a goal themselves and it was something that hadn't looked likely in the opening half.

Apart from a couple of half chances and blocked shots, they were looking toothless.

The one real opening was wasted as Horgan turned the power meter up to full and blasted a through ball away from Reid. The pass was the right option but the application wasn't good enough.

Half-time saw plenty of action on the pitch as Alex Revell put the Boro subs through their paces.

And three of them made their bow at the start of the second 45. Roberts, Bostwick and Jonathan Tomkinson the ones coming on for Horgan, Taylor and Jake Reeves.

The formation remained the same though, but with more of a diamond in midfield.


The tinkering continued with a fourth sub seven minutes into the half.

James-Wildin went off, to be replaced by Jake Forster-Caskey, and with Alex Gilbey slipping into the right wing-back position, Boro suddenly awoke from their slumbers.

A Norris free-kick, pushed away by Tzanev, raised the noise level from the 463 away fans and moments later Piergianni rose to head home after a corner had been forced.

Six minutes later a break down the right ended with a low cross turned towards goal by Norris.

Tzanev pushed it out but it hit a body, seemingly in blue, and rolled back behind the former Potters Bar Town loanee.

In between there had been a chance for Reid and one for Wimbledon.

The Boro man fired over the angle of post and bar on the turn while McAteer forced Savin to beat a shot away.

But it always felt as if there was more goals to come and with 16 minutes to go, Wimbledon got one.

A clever pass down the right of the box by George Marsh found Davison spinning in behind.

And his low cross wasn't cut out by Savin, allowing Al-Hamadi to poke it into the roof of the net.

But that still wasn't the end of the story.

And when a free-kick was delivered from the left by Forster-Caskey, flicked on by Piergianni, Norris unleashed his coup de grace.


Stevenage: Savin, James-Wildin (Forster-Caskey 52), Clark, Reeves (Bostwick 46), Piergianni, Sweeney, Taylor (Tomkinson 46), Norris, Horgan (Roberts 46), Gilbey, Jamie Reid.

Subs (not used): Przybek, March, Rose.

Goals: Piergianni 55, Nightingale (og) 61, Norris 83

Booked: Clark 43, Sweeney 60, Roberts 80


AFC Wimbledon: Tzanev, Gunter, Brown (Marsh 27), Woodyard, Nightingale, Davison (Janneh 89), Chislett, Al-Hamadi, Little (Pearson 89), McAteer, Kalambayi.

Subs (not used): Broome, Pierre.

Goals: Al-Hamadi 39, 74

Booked: Kalambayi 60


HT: AFC Wimbledon 1 Stevenage 0

Referee: Jeremy Simpson (Lancashire)

Attendance: 6,936 (including 463 from Stevenage)