Kane Hemmings 51
Jake Reeves 40, Jordan Roberts 84
Stevenage off to a flyer with deserved win at Tranmere Rovers
- Credit: DAVID LOVEDAY/TGS PHOTO
A debut goal from Jordan Roberts six minutes from time gave Stevenage a hugely-impressive win away to Tranmere Rovers on day one of the League Two season.
Jake Reeves had put Boro in front in the first period but the game at Prenton Park seemed to be heading to a point each.
But a text-book free-kick brought the 2-1 win.
It was floated to the back post where Carl Piergianni had peeled away. He headed it back across goal and Roberts, a first-half substitute, ran in to poke it home.
It would be hard to deny Boro the win. From the first minute they pressed and harried the home side, one of the promotion favourites before kick-off and there was a smattering of boos from the home fans at the end of both halves.
And they closed out the game with zero alarms to take the three points back to Hertfordshire.
Steve Evans' first team-sheet of the new season contained four debutants in the starting line-up with six of the seven subs new faces too.
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- 5 Vulnerable woman is victim of alleged theft in Hitchin
- 6 'Horrible cramped housing' plans rejected by council
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Piergianni took the captain's armband for game one while Elliott List and Luke Norris were handed the striker positions.
A good start to any season is high on the wish-list of any club and Steve Evans wouldn't have had any complaints from the first 45 minutes.
The only downside for the away side was the injury to List with six minutes to go but even that would have been quickly forgotten as Reeves took advantage of hesitation following a high ball into the box, stabbing it home from six yards.
List had endured an incident-packed opening to the season before his injury.
He had hooked a miscued shot wide after outpacing the defence to a Jake Taylor ball over the top. Then he went into the book after a daft lunge, fuelled by not getting a decision in the second before.
Most of the play in the first period was centred in the Rovers half. Piergianni had twice come close, his first header in the second minute was pushed out by Ross Doohan and his second attempt beat the keeper, but not the defender on the line.
Norris had one ruled out for offside as he got on the end of a rebound from a Taylor shot and Reeves had also been denied by the keeper.
Doohan did have one lucky escape, a bouncing back pass from Kyle Jameson going beyond him but sliding past the far post of his now unguarded net.
There was always going to be a response from the hosts and it came quickly.
Josh Hawkes had the fans on their feet with a shot that ruffled the side netting but six minutes after the restart, they were level.
Taye Ashby-Hammond, a virtual spectator in the first half, dived to his left to push away a header from a corner but only into the middle where home skipper Hemmings rifled the ball into the roof of the net.
The on-loan Fulham keeper also had to dive full-length to push a Reece McAlear free-kick away from his near post as Rovers upped their game.
Stevenage still created chances. Reeves had a shot blocked after a scramble while Roberts, on for List, twice got into good areas but looked for the foul on both occasions without any success.
Reeves was yet again denied by Doohan but Dan Sweeney seemingly had their best chance with a free header from a corner but he put it straight at the keeper.
That though was before Roberts thrilled the travelling fans.
Stevenage: Ashby-Hammond, James-Wildin, Clark (Earley 81), Reeves, Piergianni, Sweeney, List (Roberts 39), J.Taylor, Norris (Rose 81), Vancooten, Bostwick.
Subs (not used): Chapman, Campbell, Smith, Read.
Goals: Reeves 40, Roberts 84
Booked: List 28, Vancooten 57, Reeves 79
Tranmere Rovers: Doohan, Dacres-Cogley, Bristow, O'Connor, McAlear, Hemmings, Hawkes (Lewis 62), Jameson, Byrne, Nevitt, Robinson (Nolan 90).
Subs (not used): Merrie, Hughes, Hewelt, Lomax, S.Taylor.
Goal: Hemmings 51
HT: Tranmere Rovers 0 Stevenage 1
Referee: Jeremy Simpson (Carnforth, Lancashire)