Stevenage manager Steve Evans praised his side for an “outstanding” first-half display which set up a 2-1 win over Championship outfit Reading in the first round of the Carabao Cup.
League Two Stevenage went ahead in the 10th minute through Saxon Earley but Reading, fielding a young side, equalised just past the hour mark when Kelvin Ehibhatiomhan slid home after a quick break.
Danny Rose clinched a second-round tie for the Hertfordshire club with a smart far-post finish in the 89th minute.
Evans said: “Our team worked very hard. They gave everything they’ve got.
“In the first half, I thought we were outstanding. We should have put the game to bed, we should have been three or four goals ahead.
“Reading made a change, came into the game in the second half and had a better spell than us.
“It was a great finish [for their equaliser] but, after that, it’s gone a bit end-to-end and either team could have won it.
“But that bit of class at the end won us the cup tie.”
Reading manager Paul Ince defended his use of so many youngsters.
He said: “It was a good experience for the young kids even though it was disappointing the way we lost in the last few minutes.
“It looked like it was going to go to penalties but we were a bit sloppy with their second goal.
“You feel really gutted for them because they put in a really good shift.
“They’re young kids, they’re learning their way and this was a tough game for them to get involved in.
“We were a bit unsure at the start but, once we got used to it, we showed a lot more confidence in the second half.
“You never like to get knocked out in a cup game but it’s all about experience for the guys.”
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