Stevenage boss praises ‘terrific’ centre-half duo of Wilkinson and King

Luke Wilkinson. Picture: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

Luke Wilkinson. Picture: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

Darren Sarll says Stevenage deserved their win at Crewe and praised centre-half duo Luke Wilkinson and Jack King for their part in keeping the hosts at bay for much of Saturday afternoon.

Goals from Matt Godden and Fraser Franks put Boro 2-0 up in a first half that also saw Stevenage keeper Jamie Jones and Crewe striker Chris Dagnall sent off, before Crewe pulled a goal back in the second half from the penalty spot.

Wilkinson claimed two assists and was dominant at the back while King threw himself at crosses all afternoon, and twice headed clear from just under his own crossbar in a fantastic aerial display.

Speaking about the win, Sarll said: “I think we deserved to win. I thought it was an excellent result and it showcases what we’re building at the football club.

“Everyone knows that we’d like to pass it and play a nice brand but as I said after the Wycombe game they’re not going to be entertaining open ones every week.

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“Sometimes you’ve got to roll your sleeves up and set pieces are a massive part of the game and we were the best team at those.”

Speaking about the King and Wilkinson partnership, Sarll added: “They were terrific and for me they haven’t done anything wrong.

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“When we talk about last ditch defending my goalie has had to make one save. Apart from diving the wrong way for the penalty which will bug him for the rest of the season, Chris Day has had to make one save because of the people paid to stop shots, crosses, balls coming in and attempts on goal. They were magnificent.

“Wilkinson has found the same sort of form he found this time last year and he looks an absolute beast at this level.

“I though Jack King was magnificent. Don’t discard Connor Ogilvie at left-back because I thought he was terrific in his timing, his positioning was great, anticipation was great. He’s a good player the kid.”

Ronnie Henry could be back in the squad on Tuesday after missing the Crewe game with injury while Steven Schumacher is also in contention for a place as Boro host Leyton Orient.

“I know we’re close to the play-offs but sometimes you look at games and think if we’re going to have a real lunge at it then things like [the Crewe win] will see them through and we’ll come out the other side smiling,” said Sarll.

“The growth of the team is that they won’t be beaten, they don’t want to be beaten. There are too many winners in there.

“McAnuff’s work [against Crewe] was magnificent for a completely different reason than this time last week.

“There’s a real solidarity to us and a terrific togetherness for us and that’s going to be a large platform of why and if we go forward and be successful from here on in.”

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