Lessons to be learned for Stevenage after Bristol Rovers mauling

Stevenage manager Paul Tisdale says the defeat to Bristol Rovers has left him facing a new situation at the club.

Stevenage manager Paul Tisdale says the defeat to Bristol Rovers has left him facing a new situation at the club. - Credit: DAVID LOVEDAY/TGS PHOTO

Stevenage’s heavy defeat to Bristol Rovers has put manager Paul Tisdale in a situation he hasn't faced before at the club.

The 4-0 loss at the Lamex was an afternoon to forget for the home side and the boss knows things need to change for his side.

Tisdale said: “It really was a poor day for us and the first time I've had an experience like that here.

“I'm still very much engaged with the team but this is our first real test.

“However well the opposition played, as a manager it's about what your team does and we weren’t anywhere near good enough.

“We had no connection and rhythm in the side and then it comes down to how you played as an individual and that wasn't good enough either.

“There were one or two, otherwise we were below par everywhere.”

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The manager made four changes for Boro from the draw to Barrow with Terence Vancooten, Ed Upson, Jamie Reid and Luke O’Neil all returning to the line-up, top scorer Elliott List once again starting from the bench for a second time in three games.

The first half was nothing short of action as both teams had no issues creating chances.

The first of these chances came when defender Terence Vancooten made a driving run forwards towards Bristol’s backline, freeing Jake Taylor on the wing for a cross which would be blocked for a corner.

Soon after, a long throw-in from Luke O’Neil caused a scramble in the box with both teams swinging legs towards the ball until Taylor’s strike was blocked and finally cleared from the Rovers defenders.

Stevenage's best chance of the half came when a lovely one- two between Taylor and Luke Norris allowed for the latter to get in behind, but his effort was skied high into the Bristol crowd.

The visitors dominance in the game started with 20 minutes to go to the break.

A counter-attack from a corner, where Sam Finley touched it past the two defenders in waiting allowed him to run the length of the pitch, eventually having his effort deflected behind after he had the composure to go around Christy Pym.

Finley was able to redeem himself almost instantly.

From the corner the ball fell to him and with one touch to place it on his right foot he curled his shot into the top right corner to send the net shaking. 

The second half started no different to the end of the first, with Rovers playing confident football causing Tisdale's men many problems. 

Within five minutes of the opening Bristol would get their second of the game after a one- two between Elliot Anderson and Sam Nicolson allowed the newly signed Newcastle loanee in behind.

And with zero panic, Anderson calmly slotted his shot into the bottom left corner to top off a beautiful passage of play for the away side.

Things would turn worse for Boro not long after, Elliot Anderson played a curling cross to the back post where Harry Anderson was waiting to tap it in for the visitors' third of the game.

Stevenage started to send numbers up in attack with an effort from Taylor being well saved but this only caused more issues in defence, as Rovers counter-attacking play gave even more space and chances for their team. 

As heads started to drop for Boro, substitute Ryan Loft saw an opportunity.

With Pym off his line a shot from the right wing caused the keeper to make a driving save. But with the ball being kept in play, Alex Collins was there to smash it in and finish off the mess.

Stevenage had a last-gasp effort at the end when Charlie Crater cut in and hit the post with a curling effort, but it was an disappointing afternoon for the home side which will leave them searching for answers to turn things around.  

The result leaves Stevenage 19th in the league, four points off the relegation zone.

But with teams below having games in hand on Boro, Tisdale is hoping that this result will cause a reaction and allow for them to move forward. 

The boss said: "I've been here before and know how this happens, it's about how you respond to what happens next.

“You learn every week and sometimes it's a tough lesson but one we’ll take and move forward.” 

“It's the first game that we’ve not been in with a chance with a result, but I've not lost confidence in the players and they need to show me something in their performance next week."