Scott Cuthbert 48
Stevenage smell safety as rare consecutive victory pushes them closer to target
- Credit: DAVID LOVEDAY/TGS PHOTO
You have to go back to the first two matches of the season to find the last time Stevenage won back-to-back League Two games.
Scott Cuthbert's header from a corner three minutes into the second half was enough to give them that distinction, with the 1-0 win over Rochdale potentially saving their Football League existence too.
Rivals Barrow picked up a shock 4-0 victory over league leaders Forest Green Rovers but Oldham's loss to Northampton Town was more key.
It means Boro head to relegated Scunthorpe United on Easter Monday three points clear of the Latics and with a game in hand.
There was always going to be one change for this one with Luke Norris serving his one match ban following his sending off against Colchester United last week.
That was the only one though, Bruno Andrade coming in to maintain an expected 4-3-3 formation.
James Daly was perhaps the surprise replacement for Andrade on the bench.
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The first half didn't show Boro in a great attacking light but then in the predicament they are in, not losing is the main concern.
A Ben Coker free-kick was stopped in comfort by Jay Lynch early on while late on Jamie Reid and Jake Taylor got in each other's way before Michael Bostwick sliced the rebound out for a throw in 10 yards or so from the halfway line.
Their best chance was across in the dying seconds from Luther James-Wildin then flashed across goal, just in front of Elliott List.
Mind you, for all the possession Rochdale had, and it was plentiful, it was all 12 yards in front of a blanket Boro defence, who parked themselves on the edge of the penalty area and dared Dale to find a gap.
A few corners and one sprawling save from Christy Pym was all they could muster.
It didn't stop Steve Evans and assistants Paul Raynor and Alex Revell from having numerous conversations on the side-line, but any tactical switch they employed only had a nominal effect.
They did use the half-time break to make a change, Andrade coming off and being replaced by Chris Lines.
The forward had looked like a fish out of water at times, unsure it seemed of his defensive responsibilities while not clicking with James-Wildin.
It was a needed change but had very little to do with Boro taking the lead.
It came out of nothing. A corner had been won relatively cheaply and when it was delivered by Arthur Read from the right, it was glanced over the head of Lynch by Cuthbert and into the far corner.
It was a vital goal and it would be another 25 minutes before they looked to threaten again, substitute Daly flashing a shot from the left across the face of goal and wide.
Thy didn't have another though and Rochdale began to have more and more of the ball as the clock ticked down.
Pym's goal though was rarely troubled, the only real chance was a shot that was miss-hit but still needed Luke O'Neill to push behind for a corner.
That was the closest Dale would come though and the mood around the Lamex at the end was one of impending joy and survival.
Stevenage: Pym, James-Wildin, Coker (O'Neill 77), Cuthbert, List (Daly 70), Taylor, Andrade (Lines 46), Vancooten, Read, Reid, Bostwick.
Subs (not used): Walker, Prosser, Carter, Upson.
Goal: Cuthbert 48
Booked: Lines 87
Rochdale: Lynch, O'Keefe (Odoh 76), O'Connell, Dooley, Charman, Grant, Dorsett, Keohane, Downing, Cashman (Andrews 67), Clark.
Subs (not used): Wade, White, McNulty, Newby, Done.
HT: Stevenage 0 Rochdale 0
Referee: Robert Lewis (Shropshire)
Attendance: 3,172 (306 from Rochdale)
Results - Good Friday (April 15)
Barrow (2) 4 Forest Green Rovers (0) 0
Leyton Orient (3) 3 Scunthorpe United (0) 0
Oldham Athletic (0) 0 Northampton Town (1) 2
Stevenage (0) 1 Rochdale (0) 0
League Two table (bottom)
Next games - Easter Monday (April 18)
Forest Green Rovers v Oldham Athletic
Salford City v Barrow
Scunthorpe United v Stevenage