Darren Sarll had mixed feelings on yesterday’s Checkatrade Trophy draw with Brighton as Stevenage put in a performance of contrasting quality across both halves.
Brighton took the lead within a minute of kick-off and in truth, the away side could have extended their lead inside the opening 45 minutes.
“Sometimes when you haven’t played for ten days and you get that little extra rest, it can be detrimental for you and the players seemed to need a little bit more time to get themselves going.
“To normal folk that will be hard to stomach but first half we were really poor."
Boro rallied and were much improved after the break. Goals from Walker and McKirdy were separated by a Starkey header for Brighton and the manager was pleased with the response.
“I thought in the second half there was great harmony to the side in the way we played in and out of possession.
“That is the type of performance that when I am asking to strive as close to perfection as possible, it is the ability to defend properly and attack with a tempo, speed, enthusiasm and rhythm which at times in the second half we definitely saw.
“It was more of a performance that I have wanted in terms of our possession and maintenance of the ball whilst trying to progress and produce.
"Nobody wants to see the ball just go side-to-side. We have had too much of that here of late and I wanted us to be a bit more progressive. Second half we saw it but I don’t want it for 45 minutes, I want it for 90.”
The biggest story coming out of the game though was Harry McKirdy’s performance from the bench, the youngster showing everyone why he was brought into the club from Aston Villa.
The 19 year old made a big difference when he came on, topped off by scoring the equalising goal.
“He is something different to what we have - he was great when he came on. What I liked about Harry is he lifted the play in terms of the speed and tempo.
“He is very enthusiastic, he is a lovely boy, he has a good personality and he is a terrific manipulator of the ball in tight situations. He seems to ride everything that is put in front of him and he came on and had a real impact.”