Steve Evans delighted to see changes pay dividends as Stevenage strike late
Steve Evans was delighted his quadruple substitution paid off after Stevenage struck in the dying minutes to down Harrogate 1-0.
Dan Sweeney’s late header from close range broke the visitor’s resilience after what had looked for so long to be a frustrating afternoon for Evans and his side.
The hosts only began to really turn up the pressure on the Harrogate backline after the manager produced a flurry of substitutes just after the hour mark.
Jake Reeves, Jamie Reid, Jordan Roberts and Saxon Earley were all introduced at once to swing momentum Stevenage’s way.
“It was the first time I’ve made four changes at once,” said Evans, whose side have now won 10 successive home matches. “We spoke at half-time about how we could change the game.
“I think they brought us total dominance. The last half hour was like the Alamo wasn’t it?
“Those boys who came on gave us a real freshness and a real buzz. I’m delighted because everyone has a part to play.
“Thankfully, it was a brilliant cross from (Alex) Gilbey and Dan Sweeney got a good connection.”
Evans also believed his side should have been in front before Sweeney’s late intervention.
Earlier in the second half, Danny Rose’s effort curled off the post leading to an almighty goalmouth scramble, the officials deeming the ball to have stayed out.
“We thought we had scored a perfectly good goal,” Evans added. “One of their centre-backs who I’ve known for years said to me it looked in.
“Three of our boys nearest said it was clearly in. But we also understand that if you’re the assistant referee you don’t give it unless you’re 100 per cent sure.”
Harrogate manager Simon Weaver pinpointed a lack of composure in front of goal as their main problem.
Town have not scored in open play throughout September, last doing so when beating Gillingham 2-0 on August 16.
“I thought first half there really wasn’t much in it,” he said. “We’ve missed a great chance one v one with their keeper.
“That could have changed with that if we had scored, we didn’t, but I thought at half-time we were right in the game.
“We are searching for that magic formula for this group because we’ve got so many good players.
“The last few games we’ve been in every single game, but we need to start scoring goals and put the easy chances away.
“We also need to attack set-pieces better because the quality of delivery has certainly been good enough.
“We’ve got a lot of attacking players in there with decent pedigree but we need more, it’s as simple as that. We aren’t scoring enough goals to win games.
“They had people in the box at key moments and a bit of quality with their cross has decided the game.”
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