Swindon Town’s hopes of creeping into the League Two play-off places were dealt a blow as a Jordan Roberts brace earned Stevenage a 2-0 victory over Scott Lindsey’s side at The Lamex.
There wasn’t much to choose between the two sides in what proved an even ninety minutes, but it was the Hertfordshire side that emerged with the points, scoring either side of the half to claim a hard-fought victory.
There was just one change to Town’s starting eleven from the side that beat Newport County on Tuesday, with Saidou Khan coming in to replace Louis Reed who was named on the bench.
As expected, the first ten minutes were a slightly cagey affair, with Town seeing a fair bit of the ball in the early exchanges with hopes of creating an early opportunity.
On five minutes, Jonny Williams found space in the Boro area to loft in a high cross into a dangerous area, but Stevenage keeper Taye Ashby-Hammond was alert to rush out and pluck it from the air just ahead of Luke Jephcott who was waiting to pounce.
Moments later, good link up play between Remeao Hutton and Williams created a chance for Ronan Darcy on the edge of the box, but Town’s number ten could only drag his left-footed drive wide of the right hand post.
With Scott Lindsey’s side looking to grow in confidence with their early assaults, they were dealt a blow as they surrendered the lead on ten minutes.
After a Boro corner was cleared by Remeao Hutton, Danny Rose controlled the ball well on the right and swung in a dangerous cross to the far post where Jordan Roberts was waiting to nod down past Sol Brynn in the Swindon goal.
Next up, Ronan Darcy tried his luck from distance on 18-minutes, sending a long range, right footed strike wide of the mark before Stevenage came close to adding a second a minute later.
Sol Brynn’s attempted clearance from inside his box struck the back of Danny Rose before bouncing into the path of Jamie Reid, but the Town stopper spread himself well to take the pace off the shot before Mathieu Baudry cleared the ball away as it trickled towards the goal line.
We didn’t see another clear-cut chance until 37-minutes, as Boro forced two openings in the space of just sixty seconds.
First, Luther James-Wildin fired over from the edge of the box, before Jamie Reid rose highest to nod Saxon Earley’s left-wing cross towards goal inside the area, and although it appeared to beat Brynn, it landed on top of the net.
With referee Scott Oldham signaling three minutes of stoppage time to the break, Town had time to create one more chance before the interval.
Steve Evans’ side failed to clear their lines from a dangerous Ben Gladwin corner with the ball falling at the feet of Luke Jephcott, however he was crowded out and his shot towards Ashby-Hammond’s goal was blocked by a Boro body and out for a corner, with Stevenage ending the half a goal to the good.
Into the second period and both sides re-entered the field with a renewed energy with the primary battle taking place in the midfield.
Three minutes in and Boro’s Alex Gilbey tested Sol Brynn after a driving run through the middle and a shot from around 20-yards out, but it was straight at the Town keeper and he caught it easily.
Then, with their tails up, the hosts added a second on the hour mark.
Alex Gilbey was again involved, as he dribbled forward at pace before sending Jamie Reid through into the box on the left, and he crossed low for Jordan Roberts to tap home for a double.
Moments later, Boro threatened again and it was left to Sol Brynn to keep Swindon in the tie, as Jamie Reid was given the ball in a similar position to the one he created the goal, but this time shot low at goal, only to be denied by an impressive save by the diving Brynn.
Scott Lindsey made his first change of the afternoon a short time after, as Tyrese Shade entered the action in place of Jonny Williams on 65-minutes, and followed that up by introducing Ellis Iandolo and Ricky Aguiar five minutes later, but Town found chances hard to come by in the remaining twenty minutes as Boro stood firm.
With five minutes remaining of the tie, Town threatened to reduce the arrears with Ricky Aguiar firing a deflected shot wide of the mark from the edge of the box, before Tyrese Shade was presented with a golden opportunity on 86-minutes.
After a few seconds of pinball in the Boro area, the sub found the ball at his feet, but he scuffed his first time effort on goal and the hosts were able to clear the danger.
Then as we reached the final minute of the four added on as the clock ticked down, we saw action at either end, as first Sol Brynn’s pace and awareness was tested as he was forced to rush out of his area to clear from the onrushing Jake Taylor after he was sent clear through on goal.
Then, just seconds later, Remeao Hutton shot inches wide of Ashby-Hammond’s right hand post after a neat cut inside from the right.
The tie finished two-nil to the hosts in Hertfordshire with Swindon now turning their attentions to Colchester in a week.
Stevenage Line-up: 5-3-2
12. Taye Ashby-Hammond (GK) – 6. Dan Sweeney, 20. Saxon Earley, 2. Luther Wildin, 5. Carl Piergianni © (18. Michael Bostwick 62mins), 15. Terence Vancooten, 4. Jake Reeves, 17. Alex Gilbey, 11. Jordan Roberts (24. David Amoo 83mins), 32. Danny Rose, 19. Jamie Reid (8. Jake Taylor 78mins).
Subs not used: 1. Aaron Chapman (GK) – 14. Kane Smith, 3. Max Clark, 16. Arthur Read.
Scorers: Roberts 11,60
Yellow Cards: 5. Piergianni 45+3mins
Red Cards: None
Swindon Town Line-up:
1. Sol Brynn (GK) – 4. Tom Clayton, 6. Mathieu Baudry, 20. Frazer Blake-Tracy, 2. Remeao Hutton, 10. Ronan Darcy (17. Ricky Aguiar 73mins), 7. Ben Gladwin ©, 23. Saidou Khan, 8. Jonathan Williams (28. Tyrese Shade 66mins), 24. Jacob Wakeling (3. Ellis Iandolo 73mins), 15. Luke Jephcott.
Subs not used: 25. Conor Brann (GK) – 22. Marcel Lavinier, 34. Ciaran Brennan, 5. Louis Reed.
Yellow Cards: 6. Baudry 59mins, 4. Clayton 88mins.
Red Cards: None
Referee: Scott Oldham
Assistant Referees: Stephen Brown & Samuel Ogles
Fourth Official: Greg Rollason
Attendance: 4,087 (885 away fans)