On loan Arsenal youngster Chuks Aneke was sent-off on his full debut as Crewe Alexandra were eventually pegged back by Stevenage following an early AJ Leitch-Smith brace at the Lamex Stadium.
Leitch-Smith helped himself to a couple of goals inside the opening eight minutes but Luke Freeman replied before the interval. Aneke was then dismissed for a 73rd challenge on Anthony Grant and substitute Robin Shroot took advantage with an equaliser eight minutes later.
The Alex wasted little time in pressing their claims for a second win in three games when Leitch-Smith drilled a low cross from Mark Ellis high into the net following Gregor Robertson’s sixth minute free-kick.
Two minutes later Leitch-Smith claimed his second of the afternoon when slotting past ex-Spurs keeper Chris Day after being released by Aneke.
Marcus Haber headed straight at Alan Martin in reply but the Crewe keeper was left helpless when Freeman thumped in from the edge of the area just before the half-hour.
Back came the visitors with Max Clayton’s 30-yard effort being turned behind by Day while Grant shot wide after Harry Davis had already cleared from a scramble at the other end.
Crewe striker Leitch-Smith then went close to a hat-trick after good work from Byron Moore ended with David Gray blocking on the line. Haber also threatened twice more for the hosts immediately before the break.
Stevenage forced plenty of early pressure following the restart but it was Leitch-Smith again the danger when seeing another attempt charged down by Jon Ashton. Aneke was similarly denied by a timely block but after Darius Charles headed directly at Alex keeper Martin, the Gunners teenager was sent-off for a heavy challenge on Grant.
That was to prove costly for after Leitch-Smith was withdrawn in favour of Matt Tootle, Boro’s substitute Shroot turned sharply to equalise. Freeman then saw an effort ruled out for offside and another replacement Greg Tansey was only kept out by Martin as the ten-men held on.
Stevenage: Day, Gray, Charles, Ashton, Roberts, Grant (Lopez 79), Dunne, Haber, Akins (Tansey 76), Freeman, Agyemang (Shroot 64)
subs (unused): Arnold, Comminges, Ngala, Risser
Goals: Freeman (27), Shroot (81)
Crewe Alexandra: Martin, Mellor, Davis, Ellis, Robertson, Murphy, Osman, Aneke, Clayton, Leitch-Smith (Tootle 77), Moore
subs (unused): Garratt, Dugdale, Turton, Guthrie, Daniels, Colclough
Goals: Leitch-Smith (6, 8)
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