Smith frustrated with lack of cutting edge

Gary Smith. Photo: Harry Hubbard

Gary Smith. Photo: Harry Hubbard - Credit: Archant

Boro boss disappointed with lacklustre second-half display as Stevenage lose at home again

Gary Smith says he was disappointed with his side’s lacklustre second-half display against Leyton Orient, adding that Boro looked like a team that hadn’t played for three weeks.

Stevenage, who were indeed in action for the first time since January 12, went behind to a 10th minute Dean Cox strike on Saturday but rarely troubled Orient goalkeeper Jamie Jones in reply.

In the second period Boro looked sluggish in their inability to carve open the Orient defence, and despite making a number of attacking substitutions Smith could only watch from the sidelines as his team failed to find an equaliser as they extended their run of home matches without a win to seven games.

“[We have had] three weeks off and I thought we saw all of the signs of a group of players that hadn’t played for a while, which certainly I was hoping wasn’t going to happen,” Smith said afterwards.

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“A goal in 10 minutes for them, a sloppy goal from our point of view, gives them a lift and make our life much more difficult. There was a good response but not enough of a cutting edge in front of their goal.

“[The second half] didn’t take off. Of course with a half-time break, a regroup, [we expected to] really come out of the tracks and it didn’t happen.

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“I don’t know whether that was because the pitch was in a difficult shape – it certainly got more difficult to move the ball – but also when we got into more exciting areas the choices weren’t good enough and the quality wasn’t up to scratch and I think you’ve seen players that we would normally rely on not reach those sorts of standards.”

Speaking about the lack of an impact from his substitutes, Smith added: “I always expect that when forwards are coming on that they’re going to have a bit of an impact on the game.

“Dani Lopez, who has been out on loan and scored goals at League 2 level, found it tough going, albeit for 20 minutes.

“Steve Beleck showed some signs but like a lot of other players didn’t really fulfil the potential. There was nothing on the end of bright moves… it just petered out and that was the way the second half went.

“In many ways you have to give credit to Leyton Orient for that; they defended well, they worked very hard, they protected their lead well. But at home we certainly have got to make more of the moments and positions we get in.”

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