A dramatic equaliser by Terence Vancooten earned Stevenage a draw at Carlisle United and kept them in the League One play-off fight.

A Dan Butterworth double had seemingly slammed a nail into Boro's hopes of reaching the end of season party but they were given hope on 81 minutes when Alex MacDonald scored a penalty.

Vancooten then finished things off in the final seconds of the five added minutes to make it 2-2.

Steve Evans went with five changes from the side that lost to Leyton Orient last time out. 

There was still no Taye Ashby-Hammond but the warm-up injury that ruled him out last week had relented enough to allow him a place on the bench.

Luther Wildin was also missing, the imminent birth of his first child rightfully far more important, while Jamie Reid was lapping up all the plaudits after scoring on his Northern Ireland debut in Romania.

Nathan Thompson, Jake Forster-Caskey, Elliott List, Finley Burns and Kane Hemmings came in while Terence Vancooten, Ben Thompson and Vadaine Oliver were the others to miss out.

The first half was a microcosm of the last few weeks for Boro.

Again, they had plenty of possession but they failed to create anything of note, never mind take anything.

Carlisle meanwhile created two chances and they took one.

Luke Armstrong sliced the first one wide but they made the second one count with a beautifully worked goal, converted by Butterworth.

It was made though by Harrison Neal, who started the season on loan at the Lamex and who was in fine form here.

He had time to pick his pass which he did superbly, threading it inside of Dan Butler with the first time cross finished first time at the far post.

Stevenage were also hit by the loss of Forster-Caskey in the immediate aftermath, a muscular injury, Vancooten replacing him and changing the formation.

And you couldn't say Boro didn't try, nine corners won in the first 45 minutes but they failed to win any notable headers when the ball was swung in.

The boss rang the changes at the break, bringing on Ben Thompson, Nesta Guinness-Walker and Oliver for Louis Thompson, Roberts and Hemmings.

The second half was more of  the same, with Stevenage dominating of possession but struggling to get a clear cut chance.

And what they would have feared, came in the 65th minute when Carlisle got a second.

Nick Freeman prevented Armstrong from scoring with a superb chase and tackle but when the corner came in, Butterworth shifted it to the left and hit a superb shot in off Craig MacGillivray's left-hand post.

The goal brought about Boro's final change, Alex MacDonald replacing List, and it proved the catalyst for the comeback.

MacDonald won the penalty getting in front of the defender and being tripped.

The sub rolled the ball to the left of Harry Lewis to hand Stevenage a lifeline.

But despite throwing everything at the home side in the final stages, the clock had seemingly beaten Boro.

That was until the ball was delivered one final time and after a scramble and a header from Oliver that Lewis pushed out, Vancooten slammed in the rebound to earn them a precious point.

Match details

Stevenage: McGillivray, Butler, N.Thompson, Sweeney, Forster-Caskey (Vancooten 15), List (MacDonald 67), Freeman, Roberts (B.Thompson 46), Burns, L.Thompson (Guinness-Walker 46), Hemmings (Oliver 46).

Sub (not used): Ashby-Hammond, MacDonald, Smith.

Goals: MacDonald (pen) 81, Vancooten 90+5

Booked: Freeman 29, Roberts 38


Carlisle United: Lewis, Armer, Lavelle, Butterworth, Charters, Ellis, McGeouch, Mellish, Barclay, Neal, Armstrong.

Subs (not used): Breeze, Gibson, McCalmont, Robinson, Maguire, Diamond, Emmanuel.

Goals: Butterworth 13, 65

Booked: Charters 45, Butterworth 67, Lewis 77


HT: Carlisle United 1 Stevenage 0

Added time: 8

Referee: Daniel Middleton (Derbyshire)

Attendance: 7,634 (including 232 from Stevenage)