Arnold debut pleases his manager

PUBLISHED: 12:02 04 October 2012

Steve Arnold. Photo: Keith Dobney

Steve Arnold. Photo: Keith Dobney

Archant

GARY SMITH paid tribute to Steve Arnold after the goalkeeper made his league debut for the club in Tuesday night’s impressive 2-1 win away at Notts County.

The 22-year-old, who joined from Wycombe Wanderers in the summer, was handed his first start at Meadow Lane, taking the place of long-standing No.1 Chris Day.

And despite sporting a dubious pink goalkeeper’s jersey, the Welham Green-based stopper put in a fine performance that included a number of decent saves. It was certainly a debut to remember, in a match that included three penalties – two of which he faced – a sending off and a last-minute winner for his side.

And when asked after the match whether the change in goalkeeper was enforced or not, Stevenage boss Smith replied that it was indeed his decision to drop Day.

“I thought Stevie Arnold was absolutely outstanding. His kicking was magnificent, he came out two or three times for crosses and took pressure off the back four and made a couple of wonderful saves. It was a great debut for Steve in the league and at 22 he’s a real talent,” said Smith.

“It was my decision [to make the change]. Steve has been playing well. Chris is an outstanding goalkeeper himself – we’re very fortunate to have two great guys. But Chris’s form has not been quite where we might have liked it and he knows that as well.

“But no doubt Chris will be back in the fold pretty swiftly but on tonight’s performance we’ve got a second-string goalkeeper, as it were, pushing him all the way and I’m really, really pleased for him. It’s great for him to be involved in such a wonderful victory.

“He showed great strength of character – other keepers might have buckled after he made a bit of a rick with a backpass in the first half – but Steve didn’t.

“This is what debuts are all about, though. Some people rise to the occasion... and fortunately Steve is one of those who stepped forward and hopefully we’ll see a hell of a lot more of him.”

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