Manager Simon Grayson was delighted with the contribution of his two wingmen after their goals gave the Lilywhites the first home win for the new gaffer.
Lee Holmes scored the opener with a wonderful piece of skill and then he turned provider for the second week in a row to deliver an inch perfect cross for Hayhurst to make it three goals in as many games from the back post.
The North End boss spoke after the game about how he had hoped they would have a big impact against an opposition who play a much more narrow style.
“We looked at today as a good opportunity to switch play quickly, because of the way Stevenage play,” said the 43-year-old after the 2-0 win. “Lee in the last two games has been excellent, he set one up for Will at Milton Keynes and showed terrific quality to score a fantastic goal today.
“Will then got on the end of another ball from Lee and that’s three goals in three games – he is going to start thinking this scoring lark is easy!
“They are contributing, but it also needs the other players to get the ball and feed them and the team carried that out very well today.”
The blistering start the team made gave everyone inside the ground a lift and Grayson said this was something he and his staff had demanded before the game: “We challenged the players before the game to get off to a positive start to get Stevenage on the back foot and also to get the crowd really behind us and we did that,” he continued.
“I thought the players worked extremely hard, with the ball and without it. We got the ball down and created some good opportunities and we carried out the plan we worked on to hurt Stevenage.
“I have seen a few times in the last couple of weeks and we felt they could play a bit narrow and we wanted to switch players quickly and the players carried out that plan and utilised the ball well, particularly in the first half.
“The start gave us a base to build on for the rest of the half and you win matches in different manners. In the first half I thought we played well with the ball and were competitive without it and in the second half we probably didn’t use it as well as we could have done and didn’t punish them with the opportunities we had to kill the game off, but we worked really hard without the ball.
“Jack [King] got a nasty bobble with the ball at his feet, but we showed the other side of the game you need to show when you have to, which is putting bodies on the line, making clearances, putting headers in and protecting your goalkeeper.
“Declan only had one save to make and that was from a header in the 86th minute, so I am delighted we are not giving him too much to do and hopefully that bodes well for the future.”
A second consecutive clean sheet also pleased the manager: “It’s not just the back four, it’s those in front of them as well. I thought the two wide players were very good; when they didn’t have the ball they worked back and helped out.
“The front two and the midfield two worked extremely hard and you win games as a team. Defenders are there to defend, but you need people to protect you and make it easier for you at times and any success we get will be as a team and not as individuals.
“We wanted to build off what happened against Bournemouth. I said to the players ‘you have to give the crowd something to cheer about’ and I think they did that in the first 15 minutes.”
He finished by praising the fans for their tremendous welcome and support throughout the game: “
We came out of the traps quickly, got shows off and closed people down and I think the supporters realised that and they fully got behind the team.
“From a personal point of view it was a really good reception I got before and after the game and hopefully there will be many good times for this football club over the next few months and years.
“That’s the reason I’ve come to the Club. We want to be successful in everything we do and hopefully we can gather everyone together between now and the end of the season and have a really positive run to get ready for next year,” he added.