Boro Player spoke to manager Gary Smith after Saturday’s disappointing defeat at Brunton Park, but the manager – whilst frustrate with the officiating – paid credit to his side’s spirit.
When asked about Marcus Haber’s goal that pulled his side back into the tie, Smith said “We needed a goal, something to just try and hang onto and stay in the game with, and I think it gave everybody a lift, he took it ever so well, another terrific header under pressure, and honestly I think the group acquitted themselves incredibly well.
“A lot of other teams, especially after going two goals down so quickly, would have buckled and maybe got beaten quite convincingly but I thought there were some real good, spirited displays in the second half, the difficulty was getting any pressure on their goal.”
The Canadian striker’s header came after an opening 15 minutes of madness which saw Boro go two goals down, and ‘keeper Steve Arnold sent off, and the Stevenage boss was clearly disappointed with some of the decisions throughout the game.
“It wasn’t a good start by us, whether it was the journey, the two games I don’t know but we looked sluggish from the start. But I have to say some of the decisions and the way that the game was officiated, we are all bitterly disappointed about.
“Of course, at 2-0 with ten men it is going to be incredibly difficult but it should never have got to that point. [It was a] bad start, poor officiating and definitely not what you want on a long away day.”
He revealed that during his half time team talk he had told his side to “try and keep our goal intact for 30 minutes of that second half and then go two up top and try to finish the last 15 minutes with a little bit of a flurry.
“It didn’t work out that way but I think the second half showed some really good signs as a team and the way that they affected a difficult game.”
To see the full interview, including Smith’s thoughts on taking positives into Tuesday’s tie with Brentford, login to your Boro Player account now.