Stevenage boss praises duo after impressive debuts in win over Crewe

23:50 25 February 2014

Graham Westley

Graham Westley

Archant

It was an ugly win, but a necessary one says Graham Westley who added that on-loan Swansea defender Obeng was his man of the match

Graham Westley praised the debuts of Bira Dembele and Curtis Obeng after the two new signings helped Stevenage to three points and a clean sheet against Crewe.

It was Boro’s first clean sheet in seven matches, and their first win in four, and after the match Westley said Obeng was his man of the match for the way that he kept Bradden Inman quiet all game.

“It was always going to be a little risky [playing two debutants in defence] but in fairness the two of them were excellent,” Westley said.

“Bira took a little bit of time to settle and adjust to the pace of it and the strength of it and when he did settle he looked a commanding presence. He lets people get further up the pitch because he’s got that pace and you can see that he’s very strong in the challenge and alongside Ashton I thought the pair of them were excellent.

“Curtis Obeng was probably man of the match for me at full-back. Inman is a handful on his day, he can go inside and out, he’s quick, and he’s a real threat off that left side for them.

“I thought Curtis kept him very quiet tonight. He was very determined, very organised and very structured in his defending. He bossed people well and managed the line well; terrific game tonight.”

The win leaves Stevenage three points closer to those teams just above the relegation zone in League 1, with Crewe Alexandra, who are 20th, just six points clear of Boro.

Westley admits that while tonight’s victory - which was played in front of just 1,970 fans, Boro’s lowest league gate of the season - was not the most aesthetically pleasing, but says that his side were just determined to post a clean sheet after scoring after only four minutes.

“It wasn’t pretty out there, it was as ugly as it comes. We got the early goal and although we tried to keep the ball and develop our game you can see they were determined to keep that clean sheet. We dug in, we fought hard, ran for our lives, put our bodies on the line and we ground out a determined and very ugly 1-0 win,” Westley said.

“[An early goal] is exactly what you want when you’re down there and you’re nervous, you want the results and you know you’ve got to get the result,

“When you get a goal after four minutes you hope that it’s going to settle the nerves; I don’t think it did.

“I think it just bred even more anxiety with people thinking we’ve got something, we need to hang on to it. There were a lot of youngsters out there and those youngsters I think showed their inexperience probably on the night, but they’ll grow.

“They’ll realise on reflection that you’ve got to be better in possession of the ball if you’re going to control the game and develop you game. If you’re going to build on a 1-0 lead, which is a far easier way of winning the game then just sitting back and inviting them on, then those lads will grow for the experience tonight, and that’s what it’s all about.”

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