For Stevenage to beat Derby County is a huge thing said manager Steve Evans - but he also felt it was a hugely deserved success.

Thunderous free-kicks from Jordan Roberts and Alex MacDonald gave them a 2-1 half-time lead and after surviving a bit of pressure after the break, Kane Hemmings wrapped up the 3-1 win.

And Evans, who had strongly praised the Rams prior to the League One clash at the Lamex, this victory was only bettered by the one at Villa Park in the FA Cup in January.

The boss said: "We fully respected and acknowledged how good the opposition were. We were playing the biggest team in the league in my opinion. 

"We knew we had to match them in every area and I think we've done that and more. 

"We had so much of the game in the first half so to be [looking like] was almost hard on us.  

"We gave a silly goal away where we don't track a runner and that’s not what our midfield players are about. 

"Then we get the goal to go 2-1 up and second half we played really well. 

"We went toe-to-toe with some really good players and arguably we should win by more. 

"But we don't fail to recognise that for Stevenage to beat Derby County, it’s [great] for the whole town. 

"It's tremendous for us and this is a wonderful weekend for me. We have our grandkids with us, it’s my birthday and we've beaten Derby County.  

"Outside of beating a Premier League club away from home in the FA Cup, this is the best result the club has had for me."

Part of the success was down to tactical switches made in the second half as the visitors began to look more menacing.

"We made the substitutes at key spells," said Evans. "Suddenly Derby had a bit of the ball and they were finding little pockets so we had to change the shape. 

"I think we had to change the system and the tactics four times in the second-half to combat what they were about. 

"But in relative terms, bar the the odd cross or the odd corner into the box, it worked very successfully."

The Comet: Kane Hemmings wrapped up Stevenage's win with the third goal. Picture: TGS PHOTOKane Hemmings wrapped up Stevenage's win with the third goal. Picture: TGS PHOTO (Image: TGS Photo)

And there was praise for Hemmings too from the boss.

His 84th minute strike was his first for the club and came just moments after he had missed an equally glorious opportunity inside the six yard box.

"Kane Hemmings is a goal scorer and has been working ever so hard," said Evans. 

"He missed a big chance to make it 3-1 and he looked like he almost wanted the ground to open up and swallow him. 

"But the one thing you get with him is he loves his football and he goes back in. 

"He's prepared to miss because he’s got the heart the size of a lion and he got his reward. 

"And then we're a bit disappointed really that we don't counter and get a couple more." 

The free-kicks were a stand-out part of the contest and Evans revealed they were all part of a masterplan cooked up during the week.

He said: "We identified a weakness in the Derby side that that if we get efforts on target and they've got power, they can go in. 

"We've never done the Robbo one which was brilliant because we've done it many times in training this week. 

"What we’ve said to the players is stand up and be confident and play and I'll take the criticism if it goes wrong, as I’ve done many times. 

"I'm not one of these young managers who phones the chairman and blame the players. There’s too many of them.

"One of them just went on the dole a couple of days ago."