Steve Evans hails Stevenage ‘warriors’ after last-gasp win over Tranmere

By Sports Desk November 04, 2023

Steve Evans called Stevenage “the warriors of the EFL” after Jamie Reid’s 100th-minute winner capped a thrilling 4-3 FA Cup victory over Tranmere.

The League Two strugglers travelled to the Lamex and found themselves a goal down after three minutes courtesy of Jordan Roberts.

But Nigel Adkins’ side hit back through ex-Boro striker Luke Norris and Rob Apter, before Reid equalised and former Rovers forward Kane Hemmings nudged the hosts ahead.

Kieron Morris thought he had taken the first-round tie to a replay in the 90th minute, but Reid tucked home a last-gasp rebound, prompting Evans’ bullish claim.

Evans said: “I thought Nigel [Adkins] got a real tune out of his boys today, so credit to them.

“But if they think they’re the warriors, we’re the warriors in the EFL. We’re the warriors. We never stopped going. Great character from the boys.

“The FA Cup is simply about getting through. For a neutral it was fantastic. We never forget that we’re Stevenage and we beat Tranmere Rovers.”

The Boro boss picked out substitute Hemmings’ performance, after the summer signing forced the last-minute save from Luke McGee that Reid profited from.

“Real praise for Kane Hemmings,” said Evans. “Kane wasn’t thought to be good enough for Tranmere and I’ve always liked him.

“It was a fantastic first goal and a brilliant run and strike for Jamie Reid to get on the end of the winner.

“We were tempted to start him today. I’ve got absolutely no sympathy for players playing against their old clubs and all that nonsense but my God, when he came onto the pitch he looked like the Kane Hemmings who’s played for me before. He looked electric in everything he did.”

For Rovers boss Adkins, who was taking charge of his first game as permanent Tranmere manager, there were plenty of positives to take from the defeat.

Adkins said: “I think the commitment from the players was top drawer. I think that was there for everyone to see.

“We played some good football at times. You can see there were some good little intricate passages of play and movement.

“We’ve shown resilience, we’ve shown all the things you want. All in all, the lads put a really good shift in today.”

But the timing of Reid’s winner stung, especially after Morris’ equaliser might have contributed to the nine minutes of added time being extended.

Adkins said: “It’s just such a shame that after 99 minutes we’ve managed to get the ball forward and the fourth official said, that’s it, time’s done.

“We’ve put the ball, maybe naively or maybe trying to win the game, into the box and they’ve gone down the other end and scored.”

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