Coventry defeat is an opportunity missed, says Stevenage boss

Jon Ashton gets stuck in against Coventry City. Photo: Alan Millard

Jon Ashton gets stuck in against Coventry City. Photo: Alan Millard - Credit: Archant

Boro remain bottom of League 1 having missed the chance to move up to 19th place

Graham Westley says missing out on jumping five places up the League 1 table is a ‘huge opportunity missed’.

Stevenage created plenty of chances and hit the woodwork twice only to fail to find the net in their match at Coventry, eventually going down to a second-half header from Dan Seaborne while Steve Arnold saved a Coventry penalty late on.

Speaking after the match Westley said that he received praise for his side’s performance from his opposite number, Steven Pressley, but added that although his side failed to return to winning ways to lift themselves off the foot of the table his players are not playing ‘bottom of the table football’.

“It’s a huge missed opportunity as we could have gone 19th with the three points but the benefit from our point of view is that we knew going into the game we had four or five wins that we have to get,” Westley said.

“We’ve got some massive fixtures coming up where it’s going to be them or us and the fact that we could have jumped six places tonight, although some of them are playing each other at the weekend, it shows how close we are having been nine points adrift.

“We’re there fighting and I think you can see where the side’s evolved to. We’re certainly not playing bottom of the table football right now and on a different day we would have gone away from here with the points.

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“Steve said to me at the end ‘your team were excellent out there’, and I think they were.

“I think we were the better side in terms of possession and quality in possession, the better side in terms of chances, clinicality – they’ve scored from a set piece and we’ve missed several good chances over the 90 none more so than the one just before half-time where [Jordan Burrow and Luke Freeman] have had a bite at it and the goalkeeper wrong-footed but got a foot to it.

“It is a disappointing result for us but I thought the performance showed a lot of grit, a lot of courage. The boys were prepared to get the ball down and work the ball. In the final third [Coventry] had backs to the wall, defended their goal very well and their keeper made a great save late on to touch Luke’s shot on to the bar.

“I didn’t feel under serious pressure throughout the 90 minutes. You know a side with the quality they have in their squad isn’t going to let you have it all your way but Francois [Zoko] could have put us ahead on three minutes [but his] header hit the post.

“We kept pressing, we kept pushing and I think at half-time they would have been glad to have been 0-0.

“Second half I thought it was very much one-way traffic. My neck is very sore from looking away to my right and I didn’t really go to my left [the direction Coventry City were attacking] that often.

“Obviously in the end they’ve scored the goal and missed the penalty, but there wasn’t really a lot going on. Steve Arnold had a very quiet night.”