Far too many players were under par, says Smith

Stevenage boss praises Swindon but adds that his own side needs to make sure 4-0 drubbing does not happen again

GARY Smith says far too many of his Stevenage players were below par in Saturday’s horror show at home to Swindon.

Goals from Raffaele De Vita, Matt Ritchie, Miles Storey and Adam Rooney saw Swindon to a 4-0 win, while the Robins also had a first-half penalty saved by Boro goalkeeper Steve Arnold.

Boro have conceded three goals on three occasions since they entered the Football League – twice against Bury and once against Tranmere Rovers – but this was the first time their net has bulged four times, and afterwards Smith said his side must make sure this sort of performance does not occur again.

“Our form and our position in the league suggests there are lots of things going well, but today there were very few of those things that went well,” said Smith.

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“They started brighter than us, they were sharper than us, they looked more of a goal threat and there were far too many players that were below par and Swindon took advantage of that.

“You hope that [the penalty save] is going to galvanise a few of the guys into a little bit more of a performance but it never really got going.

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“I have to give a hell of a lot of credit to Swindon for that. They pressed the ball well, they worked tirelessly to win the ball in that central midfield area, and not too many teams have been able to out-compete us and in the middle third they regained so much possession.

“Their front two’s movement was good, they looked quite sharp, they linked up well, and a feature of their side that was born out today as well was that out wide they looked a different class.

“All four goals came in open play which is not normally something that you see and that is testament to something they achieved in regaining [the ball], in creating and the amount of pressure they put on us, and I have to tip my hat to a very good Swindon side.”

Asked if there were any positives his side could take from the drubbing, Smith said: “The only positive we can take is that when the guys go home and they evaluate how things have gone, is to decide in their own mind that this doesn’t happen again.

“And when it starts to unfold and it looks like it’s not going your way, just remember what happened today because it is not a nice feeling.

“Fortunately with 15 games in we’re in a fantastic position and we’ve really got to make sure we get ourselves back into the groove.

“I suspected after the Colchester game that we’d done that; we had a fantastic win at MK, a great win in the week [against Portsmouth]. Today is a real kick up the backside.

“We’re in a good spot and expectations are high here though, and if we don’t knuckle down and get the job done then we might find ourselves very quickly moving the wrong way down the table.”

Asked what any Rotherham scouts would think of Boro’s display ahead of their FA Cup clash this weekend, Smith said: “I don’t think they would have been too impressed in what they had seen. I suspect that anybody doing a match report about us would be going back and at the bottom of the page saying ‘this lot are well beatable’.

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