Stevenage in dreamland as promotion-chasing Forest Green Rovers are brushed aside

Danny Newton in action for Stevenage FC

Danny Newton celebrates his first goal in Stevenage's 3-0 win over Forest Green Rovers. - Credit: GAVIN ELLIS/TGS PHOTO

Stevenage can smell rarefied air again after a thoroughly deserved victory over promotion challengers Forest Green Rovers.

Danny Newton scored twice and Elliott List once as Boro made it five without defeat in a 3-0 success.

List's strike was his eighth of the campaign but Newton's double in a seven-minute first-half had shades of the player who first arrived at the Lamex.

But there were heroes in white across the full pitch as they moved up to 16th and closer to the play-offs than the relegation zone.

Manager Alex Revell sprung a bit of a surprise by naming an almost entirely unchanged side from the 0-0 draw with Newport County on Saturday, and that was a forced change, Matty Stevens ineligible as per the clauses in his loan deal.

The first half would have had fans of passing statistics drooling as Forest Green stroked the ball around.

The problem was it often went sideways and across the middle of the park as Stevenage formed an impenetrable barrier.

That's not to say the visitors didn't have chances in the first 45 and Aaron Collins was at the centre of most of them.

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Twice he went down in the box but neither brought a spot-kick, only a booking for diving.

He also found himself with a clear sight of goal inside the box but for some reason he turned the power meter up to 11 and blazed high over the top.

There was a third shout for a Forest Green penalty when Elliott Whitehouse went down after shooting. Again the officials were unmoved.

That appeal came in the middle of Stevenage's purple patch though.

Newton's first was a simple tap-in after great work down the right by Elliot Osborne and Elliott List.

His second was scrappy, pouncing on a rebound after a Chris Lines shot was saved, with the ball eventually creeping over the line.

Just before that Tom Pett should have scored too. A quick break saw him step inside and with the goal looming large. Lewis Thomas denied him though with a dive to his right.

At half-time Boro were in dreamland, up to 16th in the table and the same distance from relegation as the play-offs.

A stop-start opening to the second period did little to diminish those happy thoughts and they went through the roof after almost 20 minutes when it became 3-0.

Again the visitors were not happy with the officials but List looked to have got himself back level from an offside position when the ball was played into him.

His finish was low to the right of the static Thomas and inside the near post.

The front two were buzzing around and causing more and more frustrations for the Gloucestershire side and they almost brought another when they robbed a wandering goalkeeper inside the box.

Fortunately his defender bailed him out as the empty net called.

Newton's day ended with a nasty clash of heads with Baily Cargill, the latter coming off worse although neither were really winners.

The latter stages saw Forest Green push forward but again rarely test the resolute white wall. Jamie Cumming did have to field two shots but both were straight at him.

That clash of heads was part of the reason for 11 added minutes minimum being added but there still wasn't any hope of a comeback.

And in fact it was Stevenage who had the ball in the net one more time, although the ball was adjudged to have gone out of play before List turned it in.

Stevenage: Cumming, James-Wildin, Coker (Vincelot 75), Cuthbert, Osborne (Hutton 71), Newton (Hector-Ingram 84), Vancooten, List, Pett, Martin, Lines.

Subs (not used): Johnson, Prosser, Read.

Goals: Newton 30, 37, List 64

Booked: Newton 49, Martin 73

Forest Green Rovers: Thomas, Wilson, Bernard, Cargill, (Hallett 82) Collins, Matt (Davison 82), Bailey, Whitehouse (Adams 46), Wagstaff, Godwin-Malife, Richardson (Young 46).

Subs (not used): McGee, Hutchinson, Bunker.

Booked: Collins 28, Cargill 57, Bailey 90

HT: Stevenage 2 Forest Green Rovers 0

Referee: Benjamin Speedie (Bootle)