Stevenage lacked ‘moment of individual quality’ in defeat to Mansfield
- Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo
Darren Sarll says his Stevenage players gave everything but just lacked a ‘moment of individual ability’ in their defeat to Mansfield Town.
Stevenage are already missing top scorer Matt Godden, out with a broken toe, while on Saturday they were also without midfield linchpin Steven Schumacher due to injury.
On-loan Arsenal striker Kaylen Hinds, 19, led the line while 18-year-old Mark McKee made his first start for the club wide on the right, but Boro’s young attackers struggled to impose themselves against experienced defenders such as Krystian Pearce as Danny Rose fired the visitors to a 1-0 win.
Afterwards Sarll said: “I though [Mansfield had] a very experienced and established group of players and...they played lots of long, direct balls into our third.
“[There was] very little progression or passage through midfield and I would have thought for the neutral it wasn’t too pleasing on the eye but we as always tried to play, tried to pass.
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“Once they got that goal, which was a real sloppy piece of marking from us, they got something to hold on to and what they did then was bank up.
“When you put three subs on in the way of [Lee] Collins, [Matt] Green and [Jamie] McGuire, all senior established pros...we’re a little bit light in our forward potions at the moment.
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“It was a tough day. I thought the players gave everything but didn’t have that little bit of individual ability at the end.”
There was also a promising first-team debut for substitute Jamie Gray, an 18-year-old Ireland youth international not even named in the squad team in the matchday programme such is Boro’s predicament in having to blood young players at a crucial stage of the season.
Asked how he thought his young players coped, Sarll added: “I think the young lads who came in, and with Ben [Kennedy] coming in for the last half an hour, acquitted themselves so well. They should be very proud of their debuts.
“But as teenagers sometimes you have to bash that door down like we’ve seen [Jabo] Ibehre do at Carlisle recently.
“Physically they’re not at that stage that they can do that. We had to try to be clever and technically able while also you’re looking for a moment of real individual quality and that didn’t really fall our way.”