Stevenage boss Westley happy to add Port Vale point to tally
- Credit: Archant
Graham Westley felt his Stevenage side earned what could be a vital point in their relegation battle in the 1-1 draw with Port Vale.
Boro are bottom of the standings, but only two points from safety with seven matches of the season to play.
He said: “When you get a draw you’ve won a point and there’s sides who are at the bottom of the league that didn’t win a point today [Saturday], they’ll be regretting not doing that and hopefully when we get to the end of the season and we’ve won games and won points this will be one of the ones that adds up to a number that keeps us in League One.”
The opening period at The Lamex saw the hosts and Vale both struggle to stamp their authority on the clash, Westley put this down to the conditions.
“It was another difficult afternoon in terms of conditions, the pitch was very uneven and the ball was bobbling around,” he said.
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“You saw players often lose control of the ball where it ran away under the conditions of the pitch, the wind was there and the sun was very low and it can be difficult, the conditions were awkward.
“The conditions were always going to be a leveller and it made it very difficult for either side to get anything flowing and any real sustained any pressure.”
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At half-time Westley was forced to remove central defender Bira Dembele before he got sent-off, he picked up one yellow card and almost collected another on the stroke of half-time, and bring on Peter Hartley who was to net the Boro equaliser.
Westley said: “I couldn’t see him [Dembele] staying on the pitch if I kept him on there.
“I think the referee looked at the [Chris] Lines foul on [John] Mousinho and let it go and then he saw exactly the same incident in a different way and carded Bira and then gave him a very stiff talking to and you thought ‘this is going to take one tiny little infringement’ and the way [Tom] Pope was throwing himself around you could see him buying the situation.
“I couldn’t speak to Bira because of the language barrier and I wasn’t confident to let that continue so that change had to be made.”
Boro conceded at the start of the second half when Tom Pope headed past Chris Day, however the home side battled back.
“The credit that the players deserve this afternoon is for their reaction to that situation [going behind], they didn’t feel sorry for themselves, they kept trying to play the football that was there to be played, they took the game back to them and an excellent goal from Peter Hartley who came on to level things up.”
Westley also revealed why keeper Steve Arnold, who was listed on the starting teamsheet, did not play in the game.
He said: “Steve suffered all season with a knee problem, he’s had some treatment in the form of injections to straighten that out, he looked as thought he was getting over it, but he jumped for a ball [in the warm-up] and has had a recurrence, he couldn’t walk in the dressing room before the game so Chris [Day] obviously came back in to replace him.”
Stevenage host league leaders Wolverhampton Wanderers on Tuesday at The Lamex stadium.