Steve Evans was due to give this EFL Trophy match a swerve to go and watch Burton Albion take on Port Vale in an FA Cup replay - he might now wished he had / didn't miss much / he missed an absolute cracker.

It had seemed the logical choice for the Boro boss. His side will face either the Brewers or the Valiants in the second round of the FA Cup on December 2 and neither the home side at the Lamex, nor Crystal Palace, could advance from group C of the newly-branded Bristol Street Motors Trophy.

But his name appeared on the official team sheet and the club put on a comment on Twitter from the boss.

It read: "We have players trying to earn a place in our team for Saturday so it’s right I am here.

"I was going to talk to my chairman about being elsewhere but after thinking it through I decided to be here."

He took up a position in the stand while Paul Raynor and Alex Revell patrolled the technical area, and together they saw Stevenage claim a 4-2 win thanks to efforts from Jake Forster-Caskey, Harvey White, Aaron Pressley and an own goal. 

There were expected to be many changes from the side who beat Wycombe Wanderers on Saturday in League One - and there were.

The management team selected eight who did not start at Adams Park, the three to keep their place being Taye Ashby-Hammond, Luther James-Wildin and Terence Vancooten, who captained the squad.

In came Forster-Caskey, Elliott List, Kane Smith, White, Pressley, Harrison Neal, Ben Thompson and Reece Hannam.

The primary goal for most would have been probably been fitness although some would have been given the aim of proving themselves.

Whatever the players were tasked with, the first half alone provided plenty of food for thought for Boro.

We had five goals in the opening 23 minutes, some wonderful strikes and the odd bit of face-palm defending.

It took five minutes for the League One team to get their noses in front.

A free-kick over ton the left was delivered into the box and although the club hinted at the final touch coming from James-Wildin, that was tongue in cheek as the ball bounced off the unfortunate Joe Sheridan.

It was almost two when Pressley met a Forster-Caskey free-kick but his header came back flush off the crossbar.

A few minutes later the former Charlton midfielder let fly himself from a more central set-piece, and this one found its way in despite Jackson Izquierdo pushing it onto the post.

At that stage it was men against boys but within seven minutes, the Premier League youngsters were back on level terms.

Ashby-Hammond decided to give them a hand with a slack pass out only finding Ebiowei, the wide man caressing it back over the stranded keeper's head.

Then a cross from Dan Imray was lifted softly over the Boro keeper for Ola-Adebombi to head from about a yard.

Boro though responded almost instantly with a first goal in Boro colours for Harvey White and it was a beauty, rifled into the top corner from 25 yards.

Both teams took a breath at that point and decided to pay more attention to defending and their patterns of play.

There were still chances for the hosts, List fired one cross inches in front of Pressley while the big striker almost had an effort on the turn, failing to get any sort of power in it.

For all that, Palace could have gone into the break level, Ebiowei's drive in stoppage time from the right going across Ashby-Hammond but bouncing off the keeper's right-hand post.

Louis Thompson came on at half-time for Stevenage, replacing Vancooten in what looked like a planned change.

It meant James-Wildin took the armband with Neal going into the back four alongside him.

The second period didn't flow in the same manner as the first but Boro kept chipping away and got a fourth nine minutes after the restart.

It was nodded home by Pressley from close in but owed everything to a delicious delivery by Ben Thompson who put it on a plate for the big Scot.

He was denied with another shot on the turn that lacked power and direction and Izquierdo pulled off a couple of excellent saves, one from Neal especially showing lightning fast reflexes.

The game would end with a second for Pressley, nodded in at the back post following a corner, before a moment of club history.

Max Woodford is a 15-year-old schoolboy from Marriotts but after replacing Ashby-Hammond, he became Stevenage's youngest ever player.

David Hicks also made a debut for Stevenage while Makise Evans returned to first team action after cameos at the end of last season.

The young keeper had the final say with a superb punch to clear a corner and overall there was plenty for Boro to be happy with.

Match details

Stevenage: Ashby-Hammond (Woodford 82), James-Wildin, Forster-Caskey (Hicks 82), List (Hemmings 90+5), Smith, Vancooten (L.Thompson 46), White, Pressley (Evans 86), Neal, B.Thompson, Hannam.

Sub (not used): Freeman.

Goals: Sheridan (og) 5, Forster-Caskey 13, White 23, Pressley 54, 83

Booked: List 89


Crystal Palace: Izquierdo, Franca (Mathurin 75), Ebiowei (Raymond 75), Wells-Morrison, Ola-Adebomi (Akinwale 84), Watson, Imray, Sheridan, Rodney, Ozoh (Marsh 86), Devenny.

Subs (not used): Eastwood, Cardines.

Goals: Ebiowei 17, Ola-Adebomi 20

Booked: Darren Powell (bench) 55. Watson 85


HT: Stevenage 3 Crystal Palace 2

Added time: 8

Referee: Daniel Middleton (Derbyshire)

Attendance: 607 (includes 97 from Crystal Palace)