Bridges strike could be crucial - Boro boss

Boro boss Graham Westley believes his side s late winner could prove crucial ahead of next week s FA Trophy semi-final second leg against Ebbsfleet United. Boro squandered a two-goal lead when goals from Neil Barrett and Stacy Long wiped out their advant

Boro boss Graham Westley believes his side's late winner could prove crucial ahead of next week's FA Trophy semi-final second leg against Ebbsfleet United.

Boro squandered a two-goal lead when goals from Neil Barrett and Stacy Long wiped out their advantage and the Kent side looked the more likely to snatch a dramatic win.

But David Bridges was on hand nine minutes from time to head home Andy Drury's corner and Westley thinks the midfielder's strike has swung the tie in Boro's favour.

"Our lads are disappointed with the way the second half started but credit to the lads for coming back because it could be a massive goal for us - that advantage shouldn't be underestimated," Westley told The Comet.

Goals from Steve Morison and Lee Boylan had Boro fans dreaming of Wembley and Stevenage looked likely to put the tie to bed before half time.

Boro decided to go for broke after the break when they may have simply consolidated their lead but Ebbsfleet roared back and deservedly levelled.

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"Two-nil is a horrible scoreline in some respects," added Westley. "We decided that we would go for the third goal and we very nearly got ahead with Boylan's left-foot strike.

"I think in honesty that we did drop our workrate at the start of the second half. Where we had really been pressing them and really getting on top of them, we lost our shape a little bit and we paid the price."

However, Westley hailed the spirit of his side for turning the match back in their favour.

As soon as Long's wonder-strike hit the back of the net to level the scores, the big characters in the side went round rallying their team-mates and it paid dividends with a typical Bridges strike.

"The positive from our point of view is the character the players showed," added the Boro boss. "In adversity you really find out about your men.

"We dug really deep and pulled a set-piece out the bag to earn the victory, which could be a really important one.

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