Full-time: Stevenage 1 Scunthorpe United 0
Scunthorpe United slid to a third successive defeat, losing to the second-placed side in League One at the Lamex Stadium.
Greg Tansey's 76th minute free-kick separated two hard-working teams – and left the Iron rooted in the bottom four.
They had plenty of possession, particularly during the first half of a match which created few openings at either end, but their failure to turn that play into goals again proved costly.
Despite facing one of only three third tier sides to remain unbeaten after 10 league games, the Iron started brightly.
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Barely a minute had passed when Mark Duffy dangerously swung a ball into the box from the right and it narrowly evaded the lunge of Leon Clarke.
A target for United to aim at from set pieces, the on-loan Charlton Athletic player proved just as good an option with his feet, with some clever runs in behind the Stevenage defence providing the visitors with some good openings early on.
Scunthorpe kept hold of the ball well – albeit until they entered the Boro penalty area – and did even better without, harrying their hosts into playing at a pace with which they did not seem comfortable.
Despite being under pressure for decent spells, Stevenage had the best chance to break the deadlock in the 21st minute, after intercepting a pass from Josh Walker in the middle of the park.
A quick break saw the ball fall kindly to Tansey and he lifted a curling shot onto the Iron bar from 20 yards out.
Patient - on occasions a bit too much so – when going forward, United failed to capitalise on their superior possession count. They also failed to test home keeper Steve Arnold during the opening 45 minutes.
Having being recalled to the starting line-up with Karl Hawley ruled out by an ankle injury, Mike Grella did go close with a cheeky chip shortly before the half hour mark, but the effort landed on the top of the net rather than in the back of it.
Having been much of a bystander during the opening 45 minutes, Iron keeper Sam Slocombe had to be alert soon after the restart to push away an effort from Stevenage's six-goal top scorer Robin Shroot.
That chance signalled the start of a period of strong running and pressure from Boro, though despite the power of winger Lukas Akins, they still found the visiting rearguard difficult to breach.
Although they had struggled to find much joy down either flank, United's attacking players were treated to two cracking crosses from full-back Christian Ribeiro as the clock ticked past the hour mark. Sadly though, they were unable to make either count.
Having been denied by the woodwork earlier on in the afternoon, Stevenage snatched the lead with 14 minutes to play.
A decision to award the home side a free-kick from 20 yards, when Ribeiro was adjudged to have felled Boro substitute Anthony Grant when he never looked like latching onto a ball in from the right, proved costly to the visitors.
Tansey whipped an effort over the Iron wall and though Slocombe got a hand to it, he could only help it into the top corner.
Briefly the Iron threatened an equaliser, with Duffy cutting inside to sting the palms of Steve Arnold low at his near post.
But rarely did you sense Scunthorpe might actually restore parity on another ultimately frustrating afternoon.
STEVENAGE: Arnold, Dunne, Roberts, Charles, Comm inges, Akins, Shroot (N'Gala 90), Morais (Freeman 70), Tansey, Risser (Grant 59), Haber. Subs not used: Day, Ball, Rogers, Lopez.
SCUNTHORPE: Slcombe, Ribeiro, Mirfin, Canavan, Newey, Duffy, Walker, Gibbons, Ryan (Sedgewick 73), Grella, Clarke. Subs not used: Severn, Kennedy, Reid, Barcham, Jennings, Keegan.
ATTENDANCE: 2,953 (278 away).