Manager Steve Evans dedicated Stevenage’s 1-0 win over Blackpool to teenage supporter Ollie Gatfield, who died in a car accident on his way home from a match last month.
Saturday’s match was the club’s first home game since the 19-year-old died as he travelled home from Stevenage’s win at Shrewsbury three weeks ago. His friend Liam Sharpe remains in a coma and a minute’s applause was held for the pair before the game.
Jake Forster-Caskey’s deflected 85th-minute strike settled a scrappy contest as Stevenage lifted themselves back into the League One play-off places.
Evans said: “We’ve been backed at home by an absolutely brilliant support and, if we ever needed someone above us, I’m sure he dived and headed it as it came across the goal and he flicked it in.
“That’s for Ollie and for Liam – come on, Liam, fight that battle, son.”
Blackpool began the brighter and were denied by fine saves by Craig MacGillivray to keep out Marvin Ekpiteta’s header and Ollie Norburn’s rasping drive, while Daniel Grimshaw tipped over Jamie Reid’s effort.
But the hosts won it when Jordan Roberts laid the ball off for substitute Forster-Caskey, whose shot was deflected past a helpless Grimshaw.
Evans said: “It’s not the best football game in the world for any football purist.
“In many respects there was a cancellation of both teams and it was either going to take a bit of magic or a little bit of luck and I think it was a bit of both.
“Forster-Caskey moves the ball, shifts it and there’s a great strike – some of the lads think it was going into the far corner, but it goes in the other side from the defender trying to block it.”
Blackpool boss Neil Critchley was incensed with the build-up to the winner, saying: “(It was) a definite foul right in front of us.
“You could see it, Hayden (Coulson) gets a touch to the ball, the lad quite clearly falls on top of him, he was nowhere near the ball.
“It was right in front of us, the fourth official’s there, he (the referee) plays on and that’s what happens.
“They build moments and momentum in the game and that moment doesn’t happen if the referee does his job properly.
“I said to the fourth official, ‘That is a clear foul,’ and she says to me, ‘I know, I’ve told him.’ Brilliant, thanks very much.
“They fall over at every opportunity looking for a free-kick because they want to put the ball into the box, so they kid the referee and they played him better than he’s played the game today.”