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Steve Evans hails Stevenage second-half showing after 1-0 win over Rochdale

Stevenage manager Steve Evans was delighted with his side’s 1-0 win over Rochdale (Zac Goodwin/PA Images).
Stevenage manager Steve Evans was delighted with his side’s 1-0 win over Rochdale (Zac Goodwin/PA Images).

Stevanage manager Steve Evans praised his side’s response to his half-time team talk as they claimed a crucial 1-0 win over Rochdale.

Stevenage moved out of the League Two relegation zone with the win courtesy of Scott Cuthbert’s header just after the break.

The first half offered little in the way of chances for both sides and Evans challenged his players to offer more in the second period.

He said: “You’ve got to give the dressing room enormous credit because first-half I didn’t think we were at it.

“We sat off the play, we didn’t play with that aggression and determination that these boys can play with.

“I questioned their character. I said ‘go out and show me that you want to do it for this football club, for yourselves, and for your families’.

“To a man they responded second-half. It was a huge amount of effort, huge amount of determination, and brilliant support from the supporters to get us over the line late on.”

The goal came just three minutes into the second half, with Boro captain Cuthbert rising highest to head home Arthur Read’s corner and Evans hailed his skipper’s leadership qualities.

“The skip gives you everything he’s got. He leads the group tremendously well.

“I knew before I came in I didn’t have to worry about any issues going on in the dressing room. It’s a real good group of players.”

The win moves Stevenage into 22nd place in League Two, while visitors Rochdale remain 17th after a performance that frustrated manager Robbie Stockdale.

“Stevenage sat off us and let us have the ball but we didn’t do enough with it,” he said.

“We got into some half-decent areas but the final pass wasn’t good enough.

“Even second-half, late on, we get to the byline and hit the first man with the cross. We’ve got two centre-forwards on the pitch and we turn down a cross.

“I don’t know if there’s some complacency on the part of the players, thinking the job was done – far from it.”

Stockdale was disappointed with the manner in which Stevenage’s winner was conceded.

“It’s something we look at every game, we look at threats. We were fairly big today so to concede from a set-piece is frustrating.

“The message was clear at half-time. We knew they’d come out strong again. See that off and get control of the game. But a set-play has done us.

“We gave them that encouragement, we gave them that head start in the game and we couldn’t claw it back.”