Stevenage's James Ball determined to fight way in Dino Maamria's plans

PUBLISHED: 12:15 13 January 2019 | UPDATED: 12:18 13 January 2019

James Ball of Stevenage shoots over in search for his hat-trick in the League Two game between Stevenage FC v Crawley Town at the Lamex Stadium, Stevenage, Hertfordshire. Picture: DANNY LOO

James Ball of Stevenage shoots over in search for his hat-trick in the League Two game between Stevenage FC v Crawley Town at the Lamex Stadium, Stevenage, Hertfordshire. Picture: DANNY LOO

©2019 Archant

James Ball is hoping his two-goal performance in Stevenage's 2-1 win over Crawley Town on Saturday showed boss Dino Maamria what he is capable of.

Ball came on as a substitute with just 10 minutes gone, replacing the injured Alex Revell, and scored two first-half goals to secure a vital three points at The Lamex Stadium.

Signed from Stockport in the summer, the 23-year-old has found game time hard to come by in recent months after starting the season brightly with a goal on the opening day against Tranmere Rovers and a superb free-kick against Norwich City in the Carabao Cup.

“It’s been difficult,” said Ball.

“I’ve been in the team, out the team, but I always keep working hard in training because you never know when your chance is going to come.

“I didn’t expect to come on today after 10 minutes but you’ve got to make the most of the opportunities.

“Obviously I’ve not been in the team but I knew that given the chance I could really give this team something else.

“I got two goals and I just wanted to remind the gaffer that I’ve not gone away. That’s all I can do.”

Since moving to Hertfordshire, Ball has played in central midfield, but was required to play as a centre forward on Saturday.

It’s a role he’s played in before though, saying: “I’ve played up front before in my career, I was a striker at Liverpool so I’ve done it before and I just had to do a job for the team.

“Kurtis is suspended, Reidy is suspended, and then when Revs gets injured we are down to the bare bones.

“I wasn’t really expecting to come on at such an early stage. I’d only just come out the changing room like two minutes before and then Jason Goodliffe told me to go warm up because Revs was injured, but I really enjoyed it and it was a good game.”

Despite his match-winning performance, Ball admitted that Saturday was a bit of a struggle.

“It seemed like an age on that pitch because I’ve obviously not been in the frame for a little while so when I came on I was puffing,” he said.

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