Player ratings: Who got the new season off to a bang as Stevenage went to Tranmere Rovers?
- Credit: DAVD LOVEDAY/TGS PHOTO
A new season is full of excitement, full of hope and full of optimism.
Experience says those dreams often don't get past the 15-minute mark but for those connected with Stevenage, they will be going on for another seven days after a superb performance in a 2-1 win at Tranmere Rovers.
Manager Steve Evans said the victory should have been by even more but with four debutants in the starting line-up and three more coming off the bench, including match-winner Jordan Roberts, this was a chance to make a mark, make an instant impression.
These are my thoughts on how the players responded to that at Prenton Park in the League Two opener.
Taye Ashby-Hammond - 7
Defenders did their jobs so well, he was barely needed. Made two good saves though, even if the rebound from the first was put in for the Tranmere equaliser.
Luther James-Wildin - 7
Started brightly, got forward often which in this wing-back role is a necessity, but also did what was needed in defence. Solid start to the year.
Max Clark - 7
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Hasn't trained as much as the others this week and was running on empty by the 80-minute mark, hence his removal. But the relationship down the left of defence with Piergianni is growing, as is the one when he is further up the field.
Jake Reeves - 9
It's easy to give a goal-scorer a good mark but the goal was just a very small part of s superb display. Gave exactly what I hoped he could to the Stevenage midfield with his prompting and bursts forward. The longer he stays fit, the better.
Carl Piergianni - 8
A dominant figure in the air at both ends of the pitch, he is growing into a huge and influential figure in this Boro side. He'll be loved on the terraces too for his no-nonsense approach.
Dan Sweeney - 7
He's as good in the air as Piergianni which makes his miss in the second half tough to take. Only slightly overshadowed another great display though. A great signing for Boro.
Elliott List - 6
He was in the thick of it from the word go. Missed a one-one-one, booked for a rash foul and then stretchered off. Looked focused, perhaps a little too much at times, but maybe it is a sign of a more driven player. Won't be a bad thing if it is.
Jake Taylor - 7
Did get forward at times when he is always at his best for me. Played a couple of well-weighted through balls as well to give his forwards plenty of chances.
Luke Norris - 7
Held the ball up well, won fouls, won headers and he will only be disappointed at the chances that came his way. The one that did was put away well but the offside flag denied him the goal.
Terence Vancooten - 8
Apart from one moment when the ball got away from him, bringing him a deserved booking, he looked back to his very best. So quick and has such good positional sense, he was rarely beaten to a ball by the Tranmere forwards. A perfect foil to his partners in defence.
Michael Bostwick - 6
Don't be fooled by the mark. He is in the side to back up his defenders and break up play and did that very well. Only problem is a lot of what he does falls in the dark arts category, and that means a lot of it goes unseen.
Jordan Roberts arrived for his debut in the first half when List got injured and once he got into the match, he grew in stature and never mind the goal, his running down of the clock in the final few minutes was sensational. He was aide in that by fellow replacements and debutants Danny Rose and Saxon Earley.
As good a display as I have ever seen from a Stevenage team. It had everything.
It frustrated both the Tranmere players and their supporters and that first half was practically perfect.
It's only one game so I'm reigning in the optimism and they won't be able to reach that benchmark in every game, that is a given, but it will change how people view this side, nobody will underestimate them now.
Superb day out.