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26 March 2016

Darren Sarll was pleased to see his team earn a point at Oxford United on Friday after being forced to come back from behind in the second half.

Liam Sercombe put the home side ahead ten minutes into the second period but Boro got their rewards with just over twenty minutes to go thanks to Byron Harrison’s strike.

“The little run we have been on, we had to try and break that losing streak and we did that today.

“We came to a really tough place to do that and I actually thought it was one of the poorest performances in my time here but I was very pleased with the resilience, mentality and commitment shown by the players and we finish the week nice and positive coming home with a point.”

Oxford had John Lundstram sent off early in the first half for a rash challenge on Michael Tonge but Sarll says it was vital the team stuck to the game plan.

“I think it is very easy to have those delusions of grandeur when the opposition go down to 10 men, you automatically think you are going to have all the ball and you are going to be pushing and searching but 10 Oxford players with the group they have got, the individuals and the way they are coached, it is still a strong 10.

“It was important that we still showed the opponent the respect they deserve for where they are in the league. I think it was important we kept calm, kept cool and keep to the objectives that we set all week and to be fair to the players, they did that.”

Having signed on loan with the club earlier in the week, Bradley Pritchard made his debut in central midfield and Sarll was delighted with his impact.

“I thought he was outstanding. You can see straight away he has those Stevenage traits - he is a terrific runner, very committed, tackles well, competes very well.

“I don’t think we have all seen the true quality of Bradley Pritchard today in possession of the ball but when you come into a side and one, you haven’t played in a while but two, the team you are coming into has had five games without a result, it is very hard to put your foot on the ball.”

Byron Harrison’s equaliser came courtesy of a clever assist from his fellow strike partner, Greg Luer and Sarll says it was a “touch of real class”.

“He makes very, very good shaped timed runs from one side of the pitch to the other but the actual touch, awareness of the moment and the quality he showed bearing in mind we are 1-0 down, bearing in mind we are under pressure and bearing in mind we are five games without a win, I thought it was a touch of real class. Byron’s finish was as good as that as well.”

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