Smith calls for perspective after Preston defeat

Boro boss says expectations have gone through the roof since the start of the season

GARY SMITH admitted his team fell well below the standards they have set themselves following the 4-1 defeat to Preston on Saturday – but called for the need to gain some perspective.

Stevenage put in a largely off-key display against Graham Westley’s side, with two goals in each half condemning the hosts to a second successive home defeat, and the second in which they have conceded four. However, while Smith expressed his disappointment at the performance – and the need to address certain issues – the Boro boss says it’s important people remember just how well his team have done up to this point.

“This Preston side wasn’t taken lightly at all. The opening exchanges were very competitive but the first two goals were very avoidable from our viewpoint. We looked bright in the first half playing 4-4-2 with a couple of bodies up front that showed some real positive quality,” said Smith.

“The third goal was a bit of a kick in the teeth, and again it was avoidable. Anthony Grant got caught on the ball, there was a mischallenge, and the ball goes through someone’s legs and squirms in the bottom corner. And given what we were creating in that second half it was really lights out for us.

“I thought there was loads to play for in the second half. We felt the 2-1 scoreline at half-time didn’t reflect the way the game had gone. One thing’s for sure, though, they won an awful lot of second phase ball that kept up their momentum – and they were very clinical in front of goal.

“What it shows is how tight this league is. You’ve only got to look at all the results and it’s an incredibly tight league and today, Preston were the better team.

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“What I do know is this – we are still in third spot. We’ve been absolutely terrific this season. Expectations have been raised massively and everyone expects us to win and to do well, but today we’ve come undone.

“Seven wins, a loss and a draw is a really good return away from our own turf and somehow, someway we’ve got to turn things around at home because if we can just earn a few points at home we’ll be in a wonderful position come the end of the year.

“There’s still so much to play for and so much development to come from this group of players. We’re all bitterly disappointed we’ve fallen short of our standards today, but full credit to Preston because they played well and we have to be gracious. But we’ve let ourselves down.

“We’ve got a lot to improve on and the group has a lot to aspire to and the reputation we’re creating slowly but surely is one I think is valid.

“But after today’s result we’ve got an awful lot to think about, and certainly I have.”