Darrell Clarke has called for Cheltenham’s fans to travel in numbers as they bid to escape the drop in League One with a final-day win at Stevenage.

Tuesday’s 2-0 home victory over Peterborough kept their hopes alive, sealed by first-half goals from Joe Nuttall and Matty Taylor, leaving them two points behind Burton.

They must win at Stevenage and hope Burton fail to beat Fleetwood and or Cambridge lose to Port Vale.

“I thought the boys were magnificent tonight and we needed to be,” Clarke said.

“Now, we take it to the last game of the season. It was a really good atmosphere tonight and the fans were great so hopefully we can get as many of them as possible down to Stevenage and fill the away end because we need everybody there trying to cheer us on for a win.

“When I came in we had one point and no goals, so of course I would have snapped your hand off for this position with one game left, with 44 points.

“The lads have been magnificent over a period of time and there is a real togetherness in the group, even when we took a lot of knocks recently.

“We have bounced back and found that really good performance. We need to find that last really good performance in the last game of the season.”

With their play-off spot already secured, Posh boss Darren Ferguson rested a host of regulars, making seven changes.

And his youthful side were blown away in the first half by the Robins, who knew anything other than a win meant relegation with one game to play.

Nuttall reacted quickest to bundle the ball over the line from close range after goalkeeper Nicholas Bilokapic could only parry Liam Sercombe’s shot in the 11th minute.

The lead was doubled 10 minutes later when Taylor brought down a ball forward from Lewis Freestone and applied an expert finish.

Taylor crashed a shot against the post in the 32nd minute after Liam Kinsella’s pass and Elliott Bonds forced Bilokapic into a smart save two minutes later.

Posh threatened through Ricky-Jade Jones before half-time, but they were second best and Taylor and Bonds both forced Bilokapic into evasive action in the second half.

At the other end, Luke Southwood parried Jonson Clarke-Harris’ shot in the 58th minute and kept out a late header from the centre forward.

Ferguson admitted his team struggled from the first whistle.

“They got on top of us and we couldn’t sustain any sort of control,” he said.

“The goals were terrible goals to give away, you can’t give goals away like that.

“We spoke about the first 20 minutes before we left the hotel – we had to see that through and try and make sure we dealt with them because we knew they’d be straight down our throats and they were and we conceded two soft goals.

“There were certain things we worked on that we didn’t do well enough, but the goals were poor and you can’t give goals away like that, especially tonight because they got so much energy from it.

“The longer the game went on and they hadn’t scored, the more chances we were going to get. We knew we had pace in behind and I have to say we had five or six very good opportunities as well.

“Congratulations to Cheltenham, they go into Saturday still with a chance of staying up.”

Oxford boss Des Buckingham felt the heavy schedule of three games in six days took its toll on his team as they were held 1-1 by Stevenage at the Kassam Stadium.

It means it is effectively no longer in Oxford’s hands to reach the League One play-offs because Lincoln are three points behind them with a game in hand and a superior goal difference.

Buckingham felt the decision not to award the U’s a penalty when Marcus Browne appeared to have been fouled by keeper Craig MacGillivray in the first half was crucial.

They had to come from behind as Stevenage went in front through a Sam Long own goal in the 32nd minute, Cameron Brannagan replying from the penalty spot on 58 minutes when Carl Piergianni fouled Ruben Rodrigues – though that appeared to have been outside the box.

Buckingham said: “To play three games in six days is a big ask.

“We had 26 shots but couldn’t get that second goal we needed.

“There was a clear penalty not given in the first half, and for us that’s the second game in a row that one hasn’t been given when it should have been. It was a huge moment in the game, and very frustrating.

“The referee told me he couldn’t see it, but the linesman was only 15 yards away and had a clear view.

“I’m delighted with the performance but ultimately we’ve got just the four points from these three home games, now we need to make sure we prepare right and get three in the last one at Exeter.

“When we looked to rearrange the Lincoln game we chose this week because it was a free week, then Sky told us they wanted to bring this Stevenage one forward and show it on the Friday night which meant three games in six days.

“There was nothing we could do about it, but had we known they were going to do that, we would have played the Lincoln game another week.

“It’s going to be a tight finish – I wouldn’t rule out Blackpool either, and they’ve got to play Barnsley.”

Stevenage had lost manager Steve Evans in the week, with Evans heading north to become Rotherham boss.

Caretaker boss Alex Revell said: “Steve always had two clubs very much in his heart – this one and Rotherham. Believe me, making the decision was probably the hardest thing he’s had to do, he said.

“I wanted to take today and make the players ready. I really enjoyed it because they gave everything.

“I’m very proud of what the lads did tonight.

“We had a great day yesterday in terms of training and getting ready and trying to get a few bits into them.

“They came to a really tough place and worked so hard for each other.

“In spells we created some half-chances, probably not enough, but it was about showing our togetherness as a club and our spirit.

“I think we showed why we have caused teams problems this season, especially with our energy and our workrate.

“The first penalty shout against us was a penalty and should have been given so we got away with that.

“But it doesn’t mean that something that started outside the box should be a penalty. Two wrongs don’t make a right.”

Oxford squandered a great opportunity to strengthen their bid to reach the play-offs when they could only manage a 1-1 draw at home to Stevenage.

It leaves them in sixth place in Sky Bet League One, three points ahead of Lincoln, who have a game in hand and superior goal difference.

Stevenage, who lost manager Steve Evans to Rotherham this week, held out for a point despite not having a shot on target – they scored through an own goal – and being under constant pressure.

Stevenage took the lead against the run of play in the 32nd minute when defender Sam Long, pressured by Kane Hemmings behind him, turned Nick Freeman’s left-wing cross into his own net.

The U’s felt they should have had a penalty when Ruben Rodrigues threaded a pass through to Marcus Browne, who looked to be fouled by goalkeeper Craig MacGillivray in a race to reach the ball.

But referee Tom Nield ignored Oxford’s appeals for a spot-kick.

They were awarded one in the 58th minute, though, when Carl Piergianni brought down Rodrigues on the edge of the box after the Portuguese forward got goalside of him. Cameron Brannagan converted.

The home side dominated the first half, with MacGillivray saving Rodrigues’s fierce drive, Long glancing a header just wide at a corner, and Mark Harris nodding wide from a good position.

The second half saw much of the same, MacGillivray saving from Finn Stevens and from Josh Murphy when he raced through.

Stevenage nearly won it late on as Long cleared off the line and then a shot was deflected off a defender and against a post.

Rotherham have appointed Steve Evans for a second spell in charge after sacking Leam Richardson.

Richardson left the Millers on Wednesday morning after losing 18 of his 24 games in charge, overseeing relegation to Sky Bet League One, with Stevenage manager Evans swiftly named as his replacement a few hours later on a three-year deal.

Evans previously managed at the New York Stadium between 2012 and 2015, when he guided the club from League Two to Championship safety.

He leaves Stevenage having also taken them from the bottom of League Two to sitting just outside of the League One play-offs.

Evans’ returns sees a change in structure, with director of football Rob Scott reverting to head of recruitment and the Scot coming in as manager rather than head coach.

Chairman Tony Stewart said: “On behalf of everyone at Rotherham United, I’m absolutely delighted to welcome Steve Evans and Paul Raynor back to the football club.

“Leam and Rob’s (Kelly, assistant manager) departure was not something we took lightly, but following extensive conversations at board level, it was unanimously agreed that a change of direction was needed to give us the best possible chance of bouncing back to the Sky Bet Championship at the first time of asking.

“In Steve and Paul, we have two individuals that understand the Rotherham United ‘DNA’ and know what it takes to build a successful team. They have a proven track record of success at a plethora of clubs, including our own.

“Finally, I would like to place on record my thanks to Leam Richardson and Rob Kelly for their efforts and it goes without saying that they leave with the very best wishes of everyone here at Rotherham United.”

The former Wigan boss took over from Matt Taylor in December but endured a miserable time at the New York Stadium.

His appointment was with a view to rebuilding the club in the third tier but he has not made it until the end of the season, with his assistant Kelly also leaving with immediate effect.

Head coach Martin Paterson praised Burton’s character after a 2-1 victory against Stevenage moved his team three points clear of the League One relegation zone.

Mark Helm and Tom Hamer scored either side of the break while Stevenage were forced to play with 10 men for 30 minutes after Dan Butler lashed out at Helm.

Kane Hemmings scored with two minutes left but ultimately the Brewers managed to put an end to their 10-game winless run and gain a slight advantage over 21st-placed Port Vale with a valiant victory.

Paterson said: “I am so pleased with the group because of the effort. It took humility and hard work and when the chances came from the back of that framework the freedom came.

“We have got character and we have been pushing really hard for a performance like that. We have been through a bit of a dip and we always knew we had the character to get out of that.

“There have been so many opportunities and heartbreaks along this road in terms of games but most importantly now we have put a small marker down is the players recover and live right.

“As a group we have been working on a lot of things to promote things in terms of confidence and awareness of taking a little bit more time.

“But that is what happens when you are in there and you are fighting every week for status. I don’t necessarily care about the name on the back, it is about working as a collective and we have to be unified now.”

As much as it was a galvanising victory for Burton, for Stevenage they have now seen any chance of promotion almost slip from their grasp as they sit six points away from the play-off spots with two games left.

Manager Steve Evans said: “It has been an incredible effort and we have come up a bit short over the season but we will try to go to Oxford and be competitive.

“I think a lot of people would take fifth from bottom, where the likes of Burton are, but it has been an incredible amount of hard work.

“I can only applaud them, I can’t do that today because we lacked a lot. But I am not a manager to throw them in the river because there has been some really bright days.

“We are asking a lot of the players to play at the highest they have played and there hasn’t been a game since I have been here that has not had something resting on it, including today.

“We have gone to the well but found it a bit dry over the past few weeks.”

Tom Hamer scored the vital goal in a 2-1 victory against 10-man Stevenage to move Burton three points clear of relegation.

Mark Helm netted late in the first half and after Dan Butler was sent off, Hamer added a buffer to the score which proved crucial when Kane Hemmings struck two minutes from time.

The victory saw Albion open a three-point gap between them and 21st-placed Port Vale while Stevenage fell six points behind Oxford heading into the final two games.

Boro dominated the first-half possession but Helm scored with the game’s first shot on target when he diverted Sam Hughes’ flick-on past Craig MacGillivray just before half-time.

Helm was to cause more damage to Stevenage after the break when a tussle with Butler ended with the Boro defender lashing out and seeing red and Hamer made sure Burton took advantage of the extra man by lashing in Hughes’ pass.

Stevenage were much improved in the second half but couldn’t find a way past Max Crocombe until the 88th minute when Hemmings converted Jamie Reid’s cross.

Neill Collins is confident play-off chasing Barnsley can overcome their recent struggles after a 2-1 defeat to Stevenage leaves them looking over their shoulder at a crucial time in the season.

Goals from Jamie Reid and Dan Butler either side of the break earned Boro victory and they now sit within three points of sixth-placed Oxford, albeit having played a game more.

Barnsley, who had taken the lead through Adam Phillips’ 30th-minute strike, are precariously in fifth having taken just eight points from their last eight games, hitting a difficult patch of form at a crucial stage.

But Collins assured supporters it is only a matter of small margins to get them back on track.

He said: “People might make more of it than it is. We are disappointed with some of the recent results but I don’t think it will take a lot to turn it around.

“This is the first time we have lost two consecutive games since the third and fourth game of the season. The players have been really resilient and it was going to be tough tonight.

“There is no getting away that the recent run of results we have had, especially with the fixtures we have had, it’s not been good enough.

“I think we have been very consistent prior to that and I think we will get that back. At times we have been victims of our own mistakes but I think we need to not blow everything about proportion.

“We need to concentrate on getting the small margins back in our favour because I think that’s all it is.”

Victory for Stevenage brought an eight-game winless streak to an end. And with Steve Evans’ side playing Oxford next and the U’s also playing seventh-placed Lincoln, he believes Boro are still in with a chance of breaking back into the play-off spots.

He said: “Not often do I say that I’m prepared to lose, but I’m prepared to lose in a major way to try and win.

“The players just knew the mission for tonight was to get the three points and they got them and have gone in quietly. We will regroup and freshen up for Saturday.

“We have to win every game. We have been on the wrong end of some tough stuff and I said to them at half-time we can play eight up front tonight because that will be the way it will be.

“The managers that fail at this level continuously are not prepared to lose, but you have to be prepared to lose to win games.

“Neil Harris and Neil Warnock are specialists at it because in their heart they try to win and that is in me.”

Dan Butler’s second-half goal helped Stevenage reignite their play-off hopes with a 2-1 comeback victory against promotion-hopefuls Barnsley.

Boro were initially left to rue missed chances when Adam Phillips hit a lofted shot to put the Tykes ahead, but Jamie Reid levelled as the break approached and Butler secured victory with a powerful free-kick.

Stevenage find themselves three points off the play-off places, while Barnsley remain firmly in fifth position with three games left to play.

Barnsley’s Liam Roberts had an impact at both ends of the pitch as he stopped shots from Aaron Pressley and Elliott List.

The Tykes’ goalkeeper then punished Boro’s profligacy by finding Phillips behind Stevenage’s static defence and the midfielder fired past Craig MacGillivray to open the scoring on the half-hour mark.

Boro levelled in first-half stoppage time when Reid skipped past Phillips and drilled a shot home to score their first goal in 317 minutes.

And their second quickly followed after the break when Butler’s free-kick crept through Barnsley’s wall. Reid cannoned a shot against a post late on as Stevenage edged to an important victory.

Stevenage manager Steve Evans says his side will not give up the fight for a Sky Bet League One play-off place despite going down to a 1-0 defeat at Exeter.

An error by goalkeeper Taye Ashby-Hammond, who saw his clearance charged down by Exeter striker Sonny Cox and finished off by Reece Cole, led to the only goal of the game and the defeat leaves Evans’ men six points adrift of the play-off places with four games remaining.

“It’s a harsh result,” he said. “The goalkeeper has made a huge error, he got away with it twice with a lack of focus, lack of concentration. He’s been very good for us, but that wasn’t his normal self today.

“We are chasing the game then, but we create wonderful chances. (Alex) McDonald is through one-on-one and puts it in the keeper’s arms; Jamie Reid, who has been phenomenal for us, misses what you’d call a simple header and we have had two or three off the line.

“We have dominated the whole second half and it is disappointing, but it is not just today where we have dropped out of the play-off race, it’s been over four or five weeks because if you don’t score goals, you don’t win football matches.

“Football is a strange game and if someone had said to me when I joined this football club two years ago we will be five games from the end of season at Exeter and disappointed not to put yourself back in the play-off group in League One, you’d have thought you’re in dreamland. But when you have achieved something, you always want more.”

Exeter boss Gary Caldwell was delighted as his side moved into the top half and, with 54 points, they are all but certain of playing League One football again next season when things looked much bleaker for the Grecians just before Christmas.

“It takes time and fortunately, this football club understands that because this season has not been a linear process, there have been highs and lows and I think if you give people who are working extremely hard the time to make it happen, then you can see the results,” Caldwell said.

“I did my pro licence with Steve Evans, I know how competitive he is, how many promotions he has won and he always builds successful teams and they have had an incredible season.

“We knew we were in for a tough day and had to stand up to their physicality and they are pushing for a lot in terms of what they can achieve this campaign, but I thought we stood up to it and our character, our determination and our team spirit was incredible.

“But we have to be better. There are areas of our game where we have to improve and recognise where the space is, where the free player is. But to be able to do that from a winning position is far better than losing, so full credit to the players for that.”

Exeter moved into the top half of the Sky Bet League One table with a 1-0 win that dented Stevenage’s hopes of making the play-offs.

After a cagey opening, it was Boro that created the first chance with Alex MacDonald finding himself with only Viljami Sinisalo to beat, but Exeter’s Finnish goalkeeper was equal to a shot that was straight at him.

Exeter responded with Luke Harris sliding in at the near post to poke a Dion Rankine cross at Taye Ashby-Hammond, while Reece Cole was off target with a curling shot from 20 yards out.

However, the deadlock was broken in the 39th minute when – for the third time in the game – Sonny Cox charged down a clearance by Ashby-Hammond and Cole cleverly guided the ball into an empty net from 25 yards for his seventh goal of the season.

Former Grecian Jamie Reid almost equalised at the start of the second half, but Sinisalo made a brilliant double save, while Rankine smashed a good chance into the side netting from an acute angle for Exeter.

Reid was off target with a glancing header as Stevenage pushed for an equalising goal, but other than a cross that flashed across the face of goal, they rarely threatened Sinisalo in the Exeter goal.

Ian Evatt claimed his Bolton side looked fearful after a goalless draw at Stevenage left them six points adrift of the League One automatic promotion places.

Both sides had their chances to snatch a win, with Will Forrester smacking the crossbar for Wanderers in the first half and Boro’s Ben Thompson slipping late on when he looked set to punish Ricardo Santos’ sloppy pass.

The stalemate saw Wanderers slip further away from the automatic spots with six games remaining and Bolton manager Evatt was left concerned at how tentative his team were at Stevenage.

“We looked a fearful team,” he said.

“I thought we looked like we were afraid to lose and the type of team we want to be is fearless and forward-thinking.

“It had a feeling that it was ours to lose but at the minute it isn’t ours to lose, it is somebody else’s. There is no given right but it was an important point.”

As the season approaches its climax, Evatt is aware that the margin for error gets slimmer even though they have a game in hand on second-place Derby, with Reading next up on Monday.

He added: “These players are playing under huge pressure.

“We want to leave the excuses and go out and perform and it felt like we were petrified of giving something away.

“There is an opportunity and it is still wide open, we have to be the fearless team I want us to be.”

Stevenage forced Bolton into errors and Thompson had an opportunity to snatch victory after Jordan Roberts intercepted Santos’ pass, but the midfielder lost his footing as he shot.

The point meant that Stevenage’s winless run extended to six games, but Steve Evans is keen for his side to live in the moment as they fight Oxford and Lincoln for the last play-off spot.

Evans said: “We had the difficult game of the weekend. We had Bolton Wanderers. I thought Lincoln would win and they did, and I thought Oxford United would win at Shrewsbury (they drew).

“We head to the Valley and if someone said to me four weeks ago, four months ago, two years ago, Stevenage are going to go to Charlton on Easter Monday and are fighting for the play-offs in League One, it wouldn’t be thinkable.

“We are here on merit, we have good players. You can see how our club is run compared to other clubs in this league.

“So, from our point of view, we have a fantastic structure, we are in a fantastic place and we are really embracing every minute of this.”

Stevenage boss Steve Evans has been charged by the Football Association for failing to comply with a touchline ban.

Evans has until Thursday to respond to an allegation that he breached the terms of an existing punishment – social media users suggested he was too close to the pitch – during his side’s 3-1 League One defeat at Peterborough on March 13.

An FA spokesperson said on the governing body’s official X – formerly Twitter – account: “Stevenage’s Steve Evans has been charged for allegedly failing to comply with the terms of an automatic touchline suspension.

“The manager allegedly breached the terms of his suspension at their EFL League One game against Peterborough United on Wednesday 13 March. Steve Evans has until Thursday 21 March to provide a response.”

Former Peterborough manager Evans was serving the second game of an automatic suspension at the Weston Homes Stadium after being cautioned during his side’s goalless draw at Lincoln earlier this month.

FA guidance on touchline bans says those affected must not “position themselves in or behind the area of the dugout, or any barrier adjacent to the touchline or goal line” to prevent them communicating directly with players during a game.

Evans, who was appointed in March 2022, last month agreed a new, improved contract to remain with the Hertfordshire club until June 2026.

Steve Evans bemoaned refereeing standards and pleaded for an “equal chance” following Stevenage’s disallowed goal in their 1-0 loss to Leyton Orient at Broadhall Way.

Max Sanders netted the only goal of the game in the 16th minute and moved Orient to within five points of the League One play-off spots.

Stevenage thought they had equalised but Jamie Reid’s equaliser was ruled out due to a handball against Jordan Roberts – much to Evans’ ire.

The Boro boss, whose side now sit two points off sixth-placed Oxford albeit with a game in hand, said: “We are only trying to achieve what Portsmouth are, what Peterborough are, what Barnsley are. Just give us an equal chance to achieve that.

“It has knocked all the stuffing out of me.”

Evans claimed Stevenage have received 17 letters from the FA apologising for previous decisions.

He said: “I have lost all honesty and all faith; I’ve lost it all in referees. I said my piece before but I have lost all heart by the standard.

“I am not questioning the integrity but if that is the standard it is pretty painful.

“My job is to make sure that these young men are full of confidence. They still have great things to go home to, they still have families, they still have little kiddies.”

It was a result that damaged Stevenage’s play-off hopes but appeared to boost Orient’s own bid, leaving them just three points behind their opponents.

However, with games running out, boss Richie Wellens does not believe things will fall in his side’s favour.

He said: “Five points is fine, but it is the seven games (which) is too little and we are chasing too many good teams, and they won’t lose enough points. There is no chance.”

After the win, Wellens hoisted an imaginary trophy in front of the Stevenage fans, which did not please home defender Dan Sweeney.

It caused a post-match scuffle between the two teams but the Orient boss claimed he did not show any malice.

He said: “The fans were giving it and if they want to give their money and abuse me, I love it when come back at you.

“It was only a little trophy lift, and Sweeney came at me. If I do it with the supporters, they laugh at me and I laugh at them.

“I didn’t need to do it, but we have come here on the bare bones and given our supporters a good day out, so why shouldn’t we do it?”

Max Sanders’ first-half goal lifted Leyton Orient back into the League One promotion picture with a 1-0 win at Stevenage that saw the hosts drop out of the play-off positions.

Sanders scored the only goal of the game in the 16th minute when, after being found in the box, he shifted the ball onto his right foot before sliding a shot under Craig MacGillivray.

Stevenage striker Jamie Reid thought he had pulled his side level 24 minutes in but referee Craig Hicks disallowed his goal for an apparent handball against Jordan Roberts.

Boro’s top scorer threatened once more when he flicked Dan Butler’s free-kick into the hands of visiting goalkeeper Sol Brynn as Orient survived again.

Home boss Steve Evans made four substitutions at half-time in a bid to turn things around.

However, Stevenage could only muster three hopeful efforts in the second half, from Reid, Roberts and Nick Freeman, as they dropped to eighth in the table, just three points above Orient.

Darren Ferguson knows Peterborough are in with a chance of automatic promotion from League One after a 3-1 victory over Stevenage.

Posh, with a game in hand, closed to within four points of the top two after reeling off a fifth successive win.

The visitors should have had a penalty for a Josh Knight handball just after the half-hour before Posh snatched a 44th-minute lead from the spot through Harrison Burrows.

Jadel Katongo doubled the lead with a stunning first English Football League goal of his career in the 64th minute before Kwame Poku smashed in a 77th-minute clincher as Posh climbed into fourth ahead of a super Saturday when they host table-topping Portsmouth, while second-placed Derby do battle with Bolton in third.

Nick Freeman hit a consolation for Stevenage, who remain in the final play-off spot.

Ferguson said: “We were nowhere near our normal quality, but I can’t expect us to be perfect all the time.

“What I do need is for us to find a way of winning games and we did that by being ruthless.

“We made it hard for ourselves but we still managed to overcome an opponent who were just as tough as we knew they would be. Stevenage are not sixth in the league for no reason at this stage of the season.

“We told the lads a while ago to stay in touch and get to March. I always felt this month would be pivotal and that we really had to go for it, and there’s no doubt we’ve got a chance.

“We’ll roll the players out again on Saturday against Portsmouth. It’s the sort of game you want to be involved in.

“They’ve been the best team so far, they’re bringing 4,000 with them and we need our fans more than we’ve needed them all season.”

Stevenage are one point above seventh-placed Blackpool as the play-off race hots up.

Boss Steve Evans insisted: “The best team lost tonight. We just were not as clinical as Peterborough were.

“The balance of the game changed when we didn’t get a penalty and Peterborough did get one.

“I’m not disputing theirs is a penalty, but there is a clear and obvious handball in their box in the 31st minute and the referee gives a goal kick.

“We’re somehow going to have to go above these decisions to get into the play-offs. Managers get the sack, but referees just get told to be better.

“It’s always a problem when you’re not scoring goals. We have to take our chances more but we’re going through a little spell where our strikers are not finding the net.

“Peterborough are a wonderful team to watch when they get into flow and I wish them every success. I really hope they go on to win promotion and the Bristol Street Motors Trophy as well.”

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