Stevenage and Jack Smith still aiming for strong finish to season despite Mansfield frustrations

Jack Smith in action for Stevenage FC

Jack Smith was named man of the match for Stevenage against Mansfield Town. - Credit: DAVID LOVEDAY/TGS PHOTO

A frustrating defeat at the hands of Mansfield Town should not detract from what has been a great season for Stevenage says young midfield maestro Jack Smith.

The 19-year-old arrived at half-time in the 1-0 defeat with the damage already done, Ryan Sweeney scoring the only goal of the game after 24 minutes.

And although he couldn't helped Boro find an equaliser, his 45-minute performance was still worthy of the man of the match award.

And the plan for both player and team is the same, finish strong and cap off a good year.

He said: "[Manager Alex Revell and assistant Dean Wilkins] want us to finish well. Results in the last couple of games haven't gone our way but we've been on a great run and we want to finish well.

"We don't want to let our standards drop. We've done so well to get this high in the league and safe as early as we have.

"We want to take all this good form into next year."

They will need to play better than they did in the first half against the Stags though.

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Neat interplay only got them so far before a wayward pass ended all the good preceding it and the goal conceded was poor, the big centre half given a ridiculous amount of time inside the six-yard box to roll the ball home.

The second period was better, helped by Smith's prompting, but 

He said: "It's not the result we wanted. There are plenty of positives we can take from the game but you cannot start like that.

"It was a sloppy goal from the set-piece and when you make errors like that and don't punish them at the other end, you are always going to fall short.

"We came out in the second half knowing that the first half wasn't good enough. We started sharp, started fast and had a few chances but we just couldn't put them away.

"It's frustrating."

And the youngster knows all about frustrations over the last few months.

He said: "It was nice to get back on the pitch and try help my team-mates and make a positive impression.

"I've had a few weeks out of the team and the last few months have been tough for me. I had a slight niggle on my hamstring which I needed to get over.

"I've been trying to get fit again and had games behind closed doors but it was nice to get back on the grass again in a league game."