Alex Revell smiling again as Stevenage banish Newport memory with disciplined draw at MK Dons in FA Cup
- Credit: DAVID LOVEDAY/TGS PHOTO
For the first time in a long while Stevenage manager Alex Revell had a smile on his face at the end of a game - with the only regret being they could only draw at MK Dons in the FA Cup.
They trailed to a first-half Harry Darling goal but a double substitution on 67 minutes changed the whole contest and after taking the lead through Brad Barry and Elliott List, they were disappointed that a Max Watters effort 13 minutes from time rescued a 2-2 draw for the League One side.
But for Stevenage the difference between this and last week's humbling 5-0 loss at Newport County was poles apart, much to the delight of an animated Boro boss.
"My confidence is fine," said Revell. "The last results away from home were tough to take.
"I’m not someone who is here because it is a job. I’m here because I care about what I do and I care about the club.
"I’ve seen it in bad times and it hurts when you don’t get the result you want or need.
"All along I have just tried to make sure the players go out there and are ready and give their all.
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"The problem is when you concede early goals, it is tough, especially when you are on a bad run.
"When you concede early players try even harder to win the ball back and then all of a sudden, you look out of shape and it is easier for the other team.
"We’ve worked all week on having control and we were much better with the ball.
"Sometimes we got stuck, of course we did, but that’s what we want.
"I want an identity at this club and I want it there for a long time. We went away from it and I won’t do that again.
"I’m going to make sure we carry on with that process because it is the only way we can go."
Up until the introduction of Max Melbourne and Jamie Reid, Boro had defended with two banks for four and totally frustrated the Buckinghamshire outfit.
And that double switch was part of the plan according to Revell.
He said: "The players showed real character and real discipline.
"We knew we couldn't come here and chase the ball around. They are brilliant at what they do and they are the top team for possession for a reason.
"You have to frustrate them and to a man, every single player was top class.
"We didn’t deserve to be 1-0 down at half-time and should have been 1-0 up. We missed a fantastic opportunity and for all their possession, I didn’t feel threatened at all.
"We couldn’t get out in the second half. We were so disciplined in our work but we always wanted to get to 70 minutes and make the change and go for the game.
"We were so exciting to watch after that and showed real belief in what we were doing.
"I’m just really pleased for this group as they showed what they are capable of.
"The players did their job. They showed how much they learned this week and how much they wanted to put last week out of their minds.
"I’m really proud of them because they were the better side.
"They had the possession but for goal-scoring chances, we created the better ones.
"We came and showed just how together this team is."