Plenty of positives for Boro after Hammers draw

Stevenage boss Graham Westley. Photo: Harry Hubbard

Stevenage boss Graham Westley. Photo: Harry Hubbard - Credit: Archant

Boro manager Graham Westley saw “plenty of positives” in his side’s 2-2 draw with West Ham United at the Lamex on Saturday.

New signing Tom Pett, who played for Wealdstone in the Ryman Premier League last season, opening the scoring in the first half before trialist Conor Calcutt blasted the ball past Jussi Jaaskelainen to give Boro a 2-0 lead that they thoroughly deserved.

The Premier League opponents managed to salvage some pride by taking advantage of tired legs - the Hammers used completely different sides in each half - to score in the 86th and 90th minutes through Matt Jarvis and Stewart Downing respectively.

“There were some encouraging signs – both teams played the game in different ways: they played with two [sides] and we tried to push a lot of the lads through 90 minutes,” explained Westley.

“There was inevitably going to be a physical factor late on and we saw a [Boro] side that looked in command for most of the game. [West Ham] got a couple of chances that they wouldn’t have got but for the changes.”

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The new-look Boro side had all the hallmarks of a Graham Westley side: they were organised in defence, pressed high up the pitch and battled in every area of the pitch.

It is all part of the culture and squad that the manager is trying to build.

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“It’s what we’re trying to build, in and out of possession. The players showed the work-rate and determination to win, we were organised and creative at set plays, we looked good in transition both ways and there was a spirit of togetherness,” he said.

“We looked strong and organised in defence, positive going forward, organised in attacking play and we could have got more. There is plenty to be encouraged about.”

This Saturday, Boro host Millwall for their latest pre-season fixture and Westley is expecting a good contest.

“Each pre-season game is very different. You never know how a side will play but knowing [Ian] Holloway, it’ll be fiercely contested, there will be tonnes of energy, the outcome will matter to both camps and it’ll be a good contest.”

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