Darren Sarll was left frustrated after seeing his side go down 1-0 to Mansfield in a tightly contested game at the Lamex Stadium on Saturday.
The visitors took the lead on the stroke of half-time and Sarll rued the manner of the goal conceded.
“Whenever you are playing these games where teams are tightly placed, it normally relies upon a set-play, a mistake or a moment of real individual quality.
“I thought we had a couple of those. We had numerous opportunities to threaten from our set-plays. We must have had 25 set-plays in the final third - long throws, corners, free-kicks etc.
“A lapse in concentration from us defensively means we concede what is really a sloppy goal.”
There were no complaints from the manager in terms of how his players applied themselves throughout the afternoon, just a lack of quality or fortune in the final third.
“When teams come here and get 1-0 with something to hold onto, they just bank up, keep people behind the ball and then the two front men are always looking to break away on the counter from long balls.
“The players gave absolutely everything they could physically. I thought they spent themselves physically.
“We just needed that little bit of quality, little bit of fortune. A Kennedy dribble, a Pett dribble, a McAnuff dribble. We didn’t really have that individual moment in us today.”
Injuries in forward positions opened up the opportunity for Mark McKee to get his first start for the club and Jamie Gray to get his first minutes off the bench.
Both players were given pro deals this season after coming through the academy and Sarll was pleased with how they both did in difficult circumstances.
“It is one of the best things about being manager of the football club, giving young players their opportunity.
“Mark has waited a long time for that and I thought he acquitted himself very well, especially early on.
“Jamie came on and gave us that enthusiasm, that little bit of hunger and that bit of devil which I thought was maybe missing in the game and I thought he also acquitted himself very well.
“It also goes to show that Mansfield brought on McGuire, Matt Green and Collins.
“All very senior, experienced players. In this moment where we are a little bit bare in those forward positions, it does give us the opportunity to blood young players.”
Despite the defeat, Stevenage finished the day in the play-off places with just two more games to go. With a large chasing pack behind, Sarll says all thoughts must quickly switch to the next game.
“The important thing is to make sure we don’t look overly at today and we make sure we concentrate all our efforts on what side, what shape, what system, what strategy will need to be picked to beat Yeovil.
“As long as the boys give everything - which I believe they did - I will always support them and take the responsibility. We must make sure the focus is on beating Yeovil.”
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