Colchester United's fightback fell short on Boxing Day as Stevenage ran out 2-1 winners in the penultimate game of 2018.
The U's were two goals behind at half time desptie having good possession and territory between Stevenage's strikes.
And whilst Luke Prosser grabbed his second in two games to give the U's hope late on, their efforts to grab an equaliser went unrewarded as the visitors completed a double over the U's this season.
The U's hadn't conceded in the first half an hour of games this season, but saw Stevenage took the lead after just five minutes as a free kick to the far post came back off the upright and hit Gilmartin to find the back of the net.
The U’s responded well and a good move on eleven minutes saw Szmodics turn inside on the edge of the box and get a shot off that was well blocked.
They then had the next two chances, as Pell’s header from a corner was scrambled away by keeper Farman, before Jackson pulled a shot wide from the edge of the box.
Pell then had another effort after Dickenson’s cross was knocked down by Jackson, but he scuffed his effort wide as the half reached its midway point.
It was all Col U at this stage and Nouble was having plenty of joy down the left. He won a corner tht Prosser got on the end of, but Farman saved his hooked effort.
For all of the U’s pressure, Stevenage got a second ten minutes before half time, with a big suspicion of a foul in the build up.
But despite the protestations, the goal by Newton as he headed home was allowed to stand by the referee.
The U’s almost got one back as injury time got underway, with Nouble firing an effort towards the corner to force a superb save from Farman.
Next, Szmodics forced another top save out of the keeper with a fizzing shot, before Cuthbert sliced another cross over his own bar.
The visitors were thankful for Van Cooten right at the end of the half, with the defender doing brilliantly to deny Kent at the far post.
That was the last of the action for the U’s number 6, who was replaced at half time by Kane Vincent-Young.
The U’s almost got one back at the start of the second half, as Norris turned an effort just wide, and they started the half on the front foot.
Dickenson’s whipped cross couldn’t find anyone in the box and then Jackson shot over not long afterwards.
With Stevenage sitting deeper, the U’s needed to find something to get them back into the game.
Norris’ free kick was flicked just over by Nouble with Farman beaten, before the U’s introduced Senior in place of Lapslie.
And, with chances not coming their way in this period, they also introduced Mandron for Norris with fifteen minutes to go.
Nouble did send in Szmodics with thirteen to go, but his effort was just the wrong side of the upright.
They did pull one back with seven minutes to go – Mandron had hit the post before the U’s won a corner and Prosser bundled home Eastman’s header to reduce the deficit.
They kept probing in their efforts to find an equaliser, but Stevenage held firm to take the win.
The U's drop to fourth, but have a chance to bounce straight back when they take on Morecambe at the weekend.