Carlisle United F.C
Joe Riley 53, Lewis Alessandra 63
Luke Norris (pen) 88
Another second-half surrender for Stevenage as they lose to Carlisle
- Credit: DAVID LOVEDAY/TGS PHOTO
Stevenage's long trip to Carlisle United produced another limp defeat as their League Two season fizzles to a damp end.
Goals from Joe Riley and Lewis Alessandra gave the Cumbrians a 2-1 success in the persistent drizzle and continued the change in form for Boro since achieving survival one week earlier.
They had the odd chance at Brunton Park but after going behind there was only going to be one outcome and so it was, even if Luke Norris scored with two minutes to go from the penalty spot.
And while safety was always the aim when Steve Evans took over, the last two games have highlighted deficiencies in his side that will need addressing over the summer.
The boss had promised changes after Tuesday's loss to Mansfield Town and there were three of them.
Terence Vancooten's omission was injury based, he limped out late on at Field Mill, but Ben Coker and Arthur Read both dropped to the bench. In their place came Luke Prosser, Bradley Barry and Ed Upson.
Both sides had hit the woodwork inside the opening seven minutes of the first half, promising much.
Carlisle's was unintended, a cross from the left that Christy Pym was happy to leave but obviously surprised to see bounce off the top of the bar.
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Boro's attempt came after a deep cross to the back post which was met by the head of Prosser. He directed it back across goal and away from Mark Howard but the ball bounced off the far post and Jamie Reid's follow up was blocked.
But any promise there was for a fun and wide open game was soon banished to memory as the game got bogged down in possession but limited chances.
Carlisle enjoyed slightly more if it but when they did find space for shots, they were soon closed down, usually by Prosser but with honourable mentions for Upson and Michael Bostwick.
Stevenage did have two golden opportunities inside 60 seconds midway through the half.
Norris had the first after managing to turn a bouncing ball into a clear sight of goal.
However, his attempt at a shot connected with nothing but air.
Elliott List was in mere moments later but while he did make a full connection, his shot ballooned up and off the top of the stand roof.
The second period had threatened to be more of the same but like their trip to Nottinghamshire four days earlier, Boro shipped a goal inside the first eight minutes.
Omari Patrick had kept things alive, preventing the ball from going out for a away throw, and when the cross cam in from Brennan Dickenson, it eventually reached Riley on the right-hand side of the box.
He had time to look up and flash a shot across Pym and into the far corner.
Upson had just as much time two minutes later when Norris found him unmarked in the box. Unfortunately the spot he picked was way too close to Howard and the keeper was able to push the ball away.
The boss threw on both Charlie Carter and Chris Lines just passed the hour in an attempt to change their fortunes. One minute later though Carlisle were two-up with a lovely goal.
It came from the left with the low cross from Jack Armer played perfectly into the danger zone. It missed the sliding Patrick in the middle but not the sliding Alessandra at the back post, whose own introduction from the bench had come just six minutes earlier.
From there, the next most likely highlight seemed as if it would be either a third Carlisle goal or the final whistle.
It turned out it would be neither but instead a goal for Boro. A tussle in the box saw a penalty given and Norris sent the keeper the wrong way.
One late acrobatic effort from Bostwick dropped on to the roof of the net but there was to be no shock equaliser.
One more game remains, back at the Lamex against Salford City, and then all eyes will be on the transfer market.
Stevenage: Pym, James-Wildin, Cuthbert, Prosser, List (Carter 62), Taylor, Norris, Upson (Lines 62), Reid, Barry, Bostwick.
Subs (not used): Walker, Coker, Andrade, Daly, Read.
Goal: Norris (pen) 88
Booked: Taylor 33
Carlisle United: Howard, Armer, Riley (Alessandra 57), Dickenson, Mellish, Feeney, Whelan, Ellis (Mellor 89), Gibson, Patrick, Dennis (Omotoye 86).
Subs (not used): Norman, Devine, McDonald, Simeu.
Goals: Riley 53, Alessandra 63
HT: Carlisle United 0 Stevenage 0
Referee: Darren Drysdale (Lincolnshire)
Attendance: 5,701 (98 from Stevenage)