Carabao Cup first round
Kelvin Ehibhatiomhan 64
Saxon Earley 10, Danny Rose 89
Boro at it again with another late winner clinching Carabao Cup success at Reading
- Credit: ADAM DAVY/PA
The late, late kings are at it again - as Stevenage head into the Carabao Cup second round with victory at Reading.
Penalties were looming with the sides locked together at 1-1 but with 89 minutes on the clock, a sumptuous ball in from the right by Dan Sweeney, bent round the back of the defence, was thumped home by the unmarked Danny Rose.
It was the third game in a row that Boro have left it late to grab a winner following League Two successes at Tranmere Rovers and at home to Stockport County on Saturday.
Saxon Earley had bagged his first Boro goal on his first start after just 10 minutes but Kelvin Ehibhatiomhan equalised in the second period, the strike angering the away bench who thought there had been a foul on Arthur Read seconds before.
The win was deserved again though and proves that this side will go and go and go.
Changes were expected for Stevenage but manager Steve Evans truly rotated his decks with seven of them.
In came Earley, Read, Aaron Chapman, Dean Campbell, Kane Smith, Jamie Reid and Rose with Taye Ashby-Hammond, Luther James-Wildin, Max Clark, Carl Piergianni, Jake Taylor, Luke Norris and Michael Bostwick forming the bench.
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Reading boss Paul Ince went one better with eight switches from their 2-1 win over Cardiff City on Saturday, their first win of the season.
The changes affected the home side more than Boro and they struggled to really get anything going from an attacking nature.
That, however, had a lot to do with the goal coming so soon.
Had Stevenage not scored there would have been legitimate reason to blast them as they passed up three glorious opportunities to pull the trigger.
But after Campbell had slipped a ball in behind the defence to Reid, instead of the bog-standard cross into the box, Boro were in control.
It was moved left and eventually pushed by Reeves, who could have shot, to Smith, who also should have shot.
He crossed it low back into the box for Earley to side foot home inside the near post of Dean Bouzanis.
Boro didn't really test the keeper again for the rest of the half but they were always on the front foot .
Campbell in particular was finding players in and around the box with ease while Early and Smith were getting forward at will from the back.
With Reading's bench loaded and five subs available to Ince, the fear was the lack of a second would come back to haunt Boro and the Royals would bring on their big guns at some point.
One came at half-time and another two 10 minutes after the restart but they weren't the big match-altering changes perhaps expected.
And it had little affect in the early going with Boro winning a succession of corners and putting a series of crosses in to the box that had Reading scrambling somewhat.
It was out of the blue then that Reading pulled level, and it had Evans furious.
Read was baulked as he looked to get into the box, with the referee seemingly playing advantage at first.
However, with Bouzanis claiming it and no advantage coming, he allowed play to continue and a quick throw and pass allowed Ehibhatiomhan to slide past Chapman, the keeper giving him a good sight of the far corner.
It turned the momentum and the sparse crowd inside the Madejski suddenly woke up.
Terence Vancooten had to produce a sensational block to keep Boro level, the tackle coming in just as Jahmari Clarke was pulling the trigger.
Stevenage did stem the tide going into the last 10 minutes, a triple substitution helping to do so.
Penalties still seemed likely but nobody told Rose.
Stevenage: Chapman, Reeves, Sweeney, Campbell (James-Wildin), Roberts (Bostwick 90), Smith, Vancooten, Read (Taylor 80), Reid, Earley (Clark 80), Rose.
Subs (not used): Ashby-Hammond, Piergianni, Norris.
Goals: Earley 10, Rose 89
Booked: Earley 38, Campbell 58
Reading: Bouzanis, Holmes (McIntyre 46), Guinness-Walker, Fornah (Craig 81), Loum, Abrefa, Clarke, Holzman, Ehibhatiomhan, Leavy (Camara 55), Tuma (Clarke 55).
Subs (not used): Andresson, Long, Hendrick, Ince, Yiadom.
Goals: Ehibhatiomhan 64
Booked: Abrefa 42, Ehibhatiomhan 90+1
HT: Reading 0 Stevenage 1
Referee: Carl Brook (Hastings)