Player ratings: Who starred for Stevenage in their win at Rochdale?
- Credit: DAVID LOVEDAY/TGS PHOTO
Two wins in a row have suddenly transformed the outlook at Stevenage and their battle against relegation is looking much more promising now.
They followed the success at Colchester United with a 1-0 win over Rochdale at a jubilant Lamex but just how good were Boro? This is how I rated their players in the Good Friday League Two clash.
Christy Pym - 6
One shaky moment in the second half when a cross sailed over his head but apart from that was fine. Had little to do in the way of shots as Rochdale failed to get past the Boro back-line.
Luther James-Wildin - 6
Was at sixes and sevens in the first half when operating with Bruno Andrade. Slightly better after the break and was switched to left-back late on to accommodate Luke O'Neill's introduction for Ben Coker.
Ben Coker - 7
A consistent player and showed that in spades against the Dale. Works up and down the park and only a couple of knocks that ended his afternoon slowed him down at all.
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Scott Cuthbert - 8
Easy to give high marks when someone scores but the skipper was in inspired form to deal with the physical threat posed by the visitors. When he wasn't tackling or heading the ball, he was marshalling his troops. Not man of the match though. More on that a bit further down.
Elliott List - 6
Returned to the centre of the attack but despite a couple of races against the centre-halves, chasing down a ball over the top, he was unable to get a clear sight of goal. When he did, right on half-time, the cross from James-Wildin flashed inches in front of him and away.
Jake Taylor - 6
Couple of mis-controlled passes in the opening minutes set the tone for an afternoon that wasn't up to his usual standard. Did better after the break when he was shifted to the right but like most of his team-mates, that was more on the defensive side of the game.
Bruno Andrade - 5
Replaced at half-time after a horrible 45 minutes work. Never seemed to be exactly sure of what was needed from him in defence and his radar was on a different frequency to James-Wildin down the right flank. Will have better days.
Terence Vancooten - 9
The reason Cuthbert failed to take top spot in this. Looks less equipped to deal with the man mountains he was up against than his skipper but nobody told him that. Definitely finding his form again after a shaky season by his standards. Absolutely immense.
Arthur Read - 7
Has restored a bit of solidity to the midfield after being marginalised for a lot of the season. Works incredibly hard and while he didn't really show the full range of his passing, he did make some vital tackles and blocks.
Jamie Reid - 8
Brought into the side to score goals but it was his work as a defender that really stood out. Played on the left of the front three, he tracked back an inordinate amount of times to stick a foot in or help dam any gaps Rochdale thought they could exploit.
Michael Bostwick - 8
I said last week that he does a lot of the dark arts and sometimes it can be out of sight. Not here, he was in your face, making thumping tackles and denying Rochdale any scrap of hope. That'll do nicely.
Chris Lines (7) came on at half-time and made a big difference in the way Stevenage looked as a team. James Daly was a surprise inclusion but that was because of his efforts in training and he showed more of the same in his cameo. Luke O'Neill, on for an injured Ben Coker, meanwhile was in the right place at the right time to make sure a miss-hit shot went wide of the target.
What a difference a week makes. I went to Colchester with a hope of Stevenage avoiding relegation and six days later, I left the Lamex with a very firm belief they could do just that.
Wasn't a pretty win by any stretch of the imagination but it was workmanlike, it was effective and it was full of confidence and if you have those things going for you, you are in a fairly good place.
That's twice now I've listened to Steve Evans in a post-match interview in the flesh and he filled me with plenty of hope on each occasion. Both times have been after victories so I'll await final judgement until a bad loss but he is a wily old campaigner who knows exactly what he is doing.
And the cornerstone of his philosophy is work hard and reap the rewards. He is getting that from his players.
Another victory over Scunthorpe and Boro will be sitting pretty.