Striker earns praise after “best game for the club”

GRAHAM WESTLEY praised the performance of striker Byron Harrison after Saturday’s 1-0 win over League One leaders Charlton Athletic.

The 24-year-old led the line superbly up against the imposing centre-half pairing of Leon Cort and Matthew Taylor all afternoon, showing strength, skill and intelligence that belied his relatively small experience in the professional game. And despite not getting on the scoresheet (dubious goal panel decision permitting, after deflecting Stacy Long’s effort past Ben Hamer for Boro’s goal), Westley was delighted with his contribution to the team in what was his first start since the defeat at MK Dons on August 27.

“I’ve said to Byron that this was probably his best game for the club,” he said.

“He’s joined us out of non-league football in January (from Carshalton Athletic) and he came in and had a lot of weakness in his body and had work very hard to get himself up to the level physically. But he was a real handful today – he held the ball up, linked play nicely and was a constant menace in the box.”

The Boro boss was understandably relieved to bring an end to his side’s five-match winless streak since thrashing Sheffield Wednesday last month, but stressed the need for his players to build momentum going into next weekend’s home match against strugglers Yeovil.

“It’s not been the best of times and we needed the three points there’s no question about that,” he added.

“It’s not our norm to lose games but we knew we needed to step up our level and it was a nice way to bounce back.

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“We’ve shown we’re capable of mixing it with the top boys when we get our level right. But when we express a lack of confidence in ourselves and play below our level we’re capable of giving points away. It’s important for us to bed in today’s performance and remember what we did well and build on it.”

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