A goal nine minutes from the end of normal time was enough for Stevenage to claim three points at Northampton Town on day one of the new League One season.

Carl Piergianni got it for a 1-0 victory but the game will be remembered for the new rules which caused giggles from the crowd at one point.

That was when the board came up from the fourth official to indicate a minimum of 14 added minutes at the end of the 90.

That was after eight minutes in the first time, all of which meant the game finished at 5.11pm.

There were also bookings for time wasting as the referee followed the EFL edict to clamp down on the problem.

None of which mattered though in reality as Boro got off to the perfect start following promotion.

Steve Evans' first starting line-up featured six debutants with Nathan, Ben and Louis Thompson all named as well as Dan Butler and the two newest signings, Finley Burns and Aaron Pressley.

There were a further three new faces on the bench too among just six replacements.

The opening 20 minutes were frantic and summed up by two things - the ball hitting the woodwork and bookings for time wasting under the new rules.

The first yellow card came after four minutes, Carl Piergianni for kicking the ball away, and the second arrived on 18 minutes, Northampton's Akin Odimayo the culprit.

Four minutes earlier, he had flicked the ball away after conceding a free-kick. That didn't bring a caution but it did for Evans as he demanded to know why.

That was clamped down on quickly as per the EFL directive.

Also in among the bookings were the two woodwork strikes.

Patrick Brough had the first chance after getting away from his marker. The shot from just outside the area was hit firmly but pushed onto the crossbar by the fingertips of Taye Ashby-Hammond.

The keeper didn't get near it four minutes later as Tyreece Simpson opened his body and pushed the ball across him from the right.

That bounced off the foot of the upright though and was cleared.

After that Boro did grow into the game and had a couple of opportunities for Ben Thompson and Jamie Reid.

There was also one glorious chance for Pressley but he failed to get any meaningful contact to a Luther James-Wildin cross as he attempted to sweep it in.

But Northampton finished the stronger even if they didn't test Ashby-Hammond too much.

They also eight added minutes to play with as another of the new rule interpretationswas implemented and it was during that time they had a shout for a penalty.

That was instantly waved off by the official.

Half-time saw the rain sheet in and as it did, it showed Stevenage would have the wind behind them in the second period.

The breeze did cause tow moments of panic in the home defence in the opening five minutes.

Both times the ball was delivered in and the defenders misjudged the flight. That just meant though that when it dropped to a Boro man, they were surprised it had got to them and couldn't react in time.

But while the first half was frantic, the second half failed to live up to that speed, and shots were limited and half chances at best.

The goal was more or less in keeping with that.

There were two attempts that came out of almost nothing. The first one was cleared at the back post, almost on the line but the second, on the turn by the Piergianni, was cleared from behind the line and flagged as a goal by the linesman.

Jordan Roberts almost made it safe shortly after but Lee Burge pulled off a great stop and then we had the board indicating a minimum of 14 minutes added time after the 90.

There was no further drama though as Boro took the points.


Match details

Stevenage: Ashby-Hammond, James-Wildin, Butler, N.Thompson, Piergianni, Roberts, Burns, Reid (Forster-Caskey 71), Pressley (March 88), L.Thompson, B.Thompson (Freeman 62).

Subs (not used): Hegyi, MacDonald, Smith.

Goal: Piergianni 81

Booked: Piergianni 3, Evans (bench) 15, Butler 87


Northampton Town: Burge, Sowerby (Bowie 85), Guthrie (Homdermarck 82), Sherring, Hoskins (McGowan 72), Pinnock (Dyche 82), Monthe, Simpson, Leonard, Odimayo (Appere 46), Brough.

Subs (not used): Koiki, Dadge.

Booked: Odimayo 18


HT: Northampton Town 0 Stevenage 0

Referee: Lewis Smith (Wigan)

Attendance: 7,049 (961 from Stevenage)