Chris Holroyd made himself a firm favourite among Boro fans, and in the process became Stevenage’s top scorer after a confident treble helped see off rock-bottom Hereford United.
Injury troubles left Graham Westley unable to name a full bench; Luke Foster dropping to the substitutes was the only change as the team that beat Lincoln and hoped to pick up where they left off.
Early on, Stevenage were the better team and Scott Laird showed their intent by blasting a shot from outside the area that missed the far post.
Ronny Henry had a similar effort, and it wasn’t long afterwards that Lawrie Wilson took possession of the ball and slipped it in to Holroyd, who turned and flicked it left footed past Bulls keeper Bartlett.
This seemed to stir Hereford, who had looked very short of confidence or cohesion on the ball up to that point.
They started to gain more control of the game and forced some good chances. A header was saved impressively by Day as he got down to his right hand side to push it wide, and another strike went narrowly wide.
At half time it looked as though Stevenage were going to have a hard time defending their fragile lead, and this proved to be the case soon after the restart when a cross from the left connected with the head of Sean Canham, who guided it beyond everyone and into the net.
The Bulls continued to boss proceedings, creating some half chances as Stevenage continued slowly. However, Scott Laird was replaced by Peter Winn and for the second time in two games this was followed immediately by a goal.
Slightly against the run of play, Jon Ashton found himself on the end of a corner kick and made no mistake with the header. Goals from set pieces seem to be rare for Stevenage this season, so this one will be a bit of a collector’s piece.
Even better was that it seemed to demoralise the Bulls, who never really managed to threaten afterwards and looked like they accepted defeat.
Shortly afterwards, an attractive spell of passing led to Chris Holroyd rounding the onrushing keeper and kicking the ball in the unguarded net for his second.
He could have picked up his third a little earlier than he actually did when John Mousinho dispossessed a defender on the edge of the area and worked his way to the by-line before cutting the ball back into the middle for the man on loan from Brighton, but he could only get an awkward contact and hit the ball wide.
Griffin was replaced by Peter Vincenti with the clock running down, and the man from Jersey was provider for Holroyd’s hat-trick. With 80 minutes on the clock, he sprinted down the right side and knocked the ball into the path of Holroyd, who took a few touches then calmly beat the keeper.
It will be a night to remember for him and for Stevenage as they recorded a win that sent them to their highest league position so far. How long they will be able to hold onto 7th remains to be seen with the visit of much-fancied Wycombe coming up on Saturday.
It looks the fans who called for one more striker were proved right - it’s no coincidence that the signing of Chris Holroyd was followed by two consecutive away wins. Well done Westley.
Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.
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