Westley praised Boro’s character after dramatic draw
- Credit: Archant
Stevenage boss Graham Westley praised his players for a ‘superb’ second half display that saw them snatch a point from Preston North End at the Lamex Stadium.
Tom Clarke had given Simon Grayson’s side the lead and it looked destined to be the only goal of the game until the final 10 minutes when Stevenage burst into life.
Boro poured forward and Jimmy Smith scored a fantastic equaliser in the 90th minute. Westley’s side were within inches of winning the game, too, but Deacon Rudd pulled off a diving save to deny Darius Charles.
“The top six are where they are for a reason; they have expensively assembled players working hard for them, they have quality off the bench and they have a lot to work with,” said Westley in his post-match interview.
“I think we played the first half a little in awe of their reputation. I feared for youngsters because they need the experience of playing better players to develop the confidence and I took up half a game to get going.
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“We didn’t show any composure, we didn’t work the football, it was very back to front and it was haphazard. In the second half we played a different game: a lot more composure, our athleticism came through as the game wore on their legs ran out and ours came on.
“We played some really good football and although it looked like we wouldn’t get anything, I thought we deserved something out of the game. When we got something it was like the Nou Camp when United played Bayern Munich. They were throwing bodies at everything and their goal was living a charmed life. Really as the game wore on there was only one winner.
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“It was getting to the point that it was getting away from us, but at the same timer you can’t think like that as a manager. We threw everything at them and thankfully we found a formula to get the equaliser.”
The atmosphere was one of the highlights of the game with the Preston North End and Stevenage fans feeding off each other to create a wall of sound for 90 minutes.
Westley conceded it was like the good old days.
“It was a great atmosphere; like the good old days with the crowd right behind the boys, who were fighting for their lives and throwing everything they had and straining every sinew.”