The gaffer, Lucas Akins and Peter Hartley reflect on the win over Orient in the JPT.Team spirit and togetherness were what got Stevenage into the area semi-finals of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy after a frenetic first half ended with Roarie Deacon being sent-off and the score 3-2 to Boro. The lads were made to defend stoutly in the second half and restricted Orient to few chances, as they saw out the game to win.
After the game Graham Westley re-iterated his desire to make it to Wembley.
“It was hard-earned tonight, the lads were outstanding in their work rate, their togetherness and their spirit. They wanted to win the game, they want to go to Wembley and that was a massive incentive for us. They showed that they really cared in the way they dealt with everything that went on in the stadium tonight.
“We barely gave a chance away in the second half, it was an outstanding second half performance.”
Lucas Akins scored his first goal of the season to put Boro 2-0 up and admitted the opening 20 minutes almost went right to plan.
“I can’t remember being part of one (a start to a game) quite so exciting but to be honest now we sort of expect that here. We aim to come out of the traps very fast, we work on it all week now and try and get our momentum to take us through for the rest of the game.
Peter Hartley was moved into the centre of defence and wore the captains arm-band after Jon Ashton was ruled out during warm-ups. He also spoke about the plan to put Orient under the cosh early in the match.
“We spoke about getting out the traps early in the dressing room and we put a lot of emphasis on getting a bright start and putting Leyton Orient on the back-foot. I felt we definitely got what we deserved out of the game; we showed what winnings all about.”
After the bright start which saw Boro 3-1 up after 16 minutes, things began to go wrong after Deacon saw red and Orient scored from a penalty just before the break. Peter praised the togetherness of the squad to see out the game with 10 men.
“We've got a squad of 22, 23 boys and we’re all at it for each other, we dig deep for each other and we look after each other. We’re not just team-mates, we’re friends as well. I think that showed in the second half, we had 10 friends on the pitch who all wanted to win for each other.
“I think we can beat anybody on any day. We’ve got enough quality in that dressing room to get right up the league and really fight with the top boys. We showed it tonight, Leyton Orient are top of the league and we absolutely destroyed them with 10 men in that second half. We showed that we had more than them, so imagine if we had 11 men, I think we would've gone from strength to strength.”