Jamie Reid 21, Elliott List 46
Hartlepool United F.C
Stevenage roar back to winning ways to down Pools in the rain
- Credit: DAVID LOVEDAY/TGS PHOTO
Goals from Jamie Reid and Elliott List ended Stevenage's wait for a win with victory at home to Hartlepool United.
The 2-0 success was their first in eight outings but it was a thoroughly deserved one for Alex Revell's men who never looked back after taking a first-half lead.
Their previous seven games had yielded just three points, all draws, and were a far cry from a fantastic opening week of the campaign.
It lifts them up 17th in the table but still within touch of the teams further up the table.
Their visitors from the north east weren't exactly in the greatest of form either mind you.
They are now four without a win with two draws in that sequence and they are still searching for their first success away from Victoria Park.
Alex Revell had called Stevenage's draw at Harrogate Town last week an answer to their critics and he kept the majority of that side, the only change in the starting 11 being Bruno Andrade's inclusion ahead of Brad Barry
On the bench was Sam Tinubu, a first-year scholar whose first professional deal was only announced in the hours before kick-off.
Pools meanwhile went with exactly the same side, substitutes included, from their draw with Exeter City at home last time out.
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With heavy rain falling for the most of the game, conditions weren't the best for either side but until Reid scored it was the visitors who looked the better.
Luke Molyneux headed onto the roof of the net and both Scott Cuthbert and Terence Vancooten had to throw themselves in front of shots and make challenges to prevent Pools from bagging the opening.
The one thing that was a big worry throughout the first half for Hartlepool though was the way they kept coughing up possession.
Stevenage were on the front foot though in this department too and when Jake Reeves robbed Nicky Featherstone in the middle of the park, it set in motion the move for the first goal.
The midfielder fed Reid down the right and with the defence backing off, he stepped inside before bending an effort into the top corner beyond Ben Killip.
That was on 21 minutes and it changed the whole flow of the contest with Boro growing more and more into it.
Reid almost repeated the trick but this time his effort was blocked behind for a corner and Killip was called into action to deny Luther James-Wildin at the foot of his post before a double save denied List.
Those missed chances were the one downside to the half for Boro. This bad run has often seen them spurn plenty of opportunities when in a winning position and then live to regret them as the opposition came back.
Scoring 33 seconds into the half is one way of easing those worries.
Most people missed it as it was so quick after the restart but Elliot Osborne's through-ball was threaded beautifully through a gap and after List had rode one challenge, he rolled it around Killip and into the corner.
Osborne should have made it three just a few minutes later as List repaid him the favour following a wriggling run down the byline but the midfielder, under pressure perhaps, still should have done more than blaze over the top.
Almost immediately Hartlepool made a double switch, changing formation with it, and it put them on the front foot for the next 10 minutes.
One of the replacements Will Goodwin put a Nicky Featherstone cross over the top at the back post while Matty Daly had a clear header six yards out that fortunately went straight down the throat of Joseph Anang.
List's personal duel with Killip also continued, the keeper winning this round by stopping the forward's header but they did need to bring Jack Smith on in pace on Andrade to stop the momentum.
The introduction of the young midfielder did help shore things up and even though Hartlepool pressed, Boro looked a lot more solid and happier defending the lead.
They had chances on the break too but they didn't allow too many chances.
Anang did make one big save as a shot fired into the box was diverted towards his goal by Mark Cullen.
But the rest of time was played out with little alarms and the three points, plus two successive clean sheets, may suggest Boro have turned the corner this season.
Stevenage: Anang, James-Wildin, Coker, Reeves, Cuthbert, List (Norris 78), Taylor, Osborne, Andrade (Smith 63), Vancooten, Reid )Prosser 90+1).
Subs (not used): Bastien, Marshall, Townsend-West, Tinubu.
Goals: Reid 21, List 46
Booked: Taylor 44, Vancooten 58
Hartlepool United: Killip, Sterry, Shelton (Goodwin 52), Featherstone, Molyneux, Jones, Byrne, Francis-Angol (Cook 76), Hendrie, Daly, Fondop (Cullen 52).
Subs (not used): Mitchell, Odusina, Smith, Ogle.
HT: Stevenage 1 Hartlepool United 0
Referee: Ben Speedie (Bootle)
Attendance: 2,633 (398 from Hartlepool)