Despite playing the bottom-of-the-table side Stevenage didn’t have it all their own way, as predicted by the manager when speaking to the website before the game. On reflection he told us “I said it earlier on in the week, they have a new manager, they’re trying to get themselves out of trouble and they’re pretty much fighting for their lives here. They showed that today. It took an awful lot of effort, determination and a couple of good goals, more importantly scored at important times, to get us through.”
When asked if after taking the lead he felt that his side would push on and take more of a grip on the game, Smith replied “I honestly thought it’d be tough going all afternoon – the goal that came in the first half was one of only a couple of sights of goal that we had. I’m not sure that Hartlepool had too many more, it was a very competitive game played in the central areas of the field but I thought that Marcus [Haber] took it ever so well. He stayed on the move and got himself in front of the centre back and stayed nice and alive for that second phase off the post.
“I was very pleased to go in 1-0 at half time because after two weeks without a game the group just looked a little rusty and edgy, the quality wasn’t quite what we all expected and know that we are capable of; so 1-0 at half time was great news.”
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