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Maamria: "It was there for us"

16 December 2018

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Dino Maamria was left both pleased and frustrated following Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Nothampton as his side came back from behind once again to salvage a point on the road...

Following a slow start to proceedings which saw the Cobblers take the lead on the stroke of half-time, his Stevenage side came on strong in the second half which eventually led to Kennedy’s 75th minute equaliser.

Although happy with the comeback, Maamria also felt that three points could have been picked up.

“Do you know what, it was there for us in the last 15 minutes,” he said. “I think in the second half we totally dominated and we got the goal at the right time. Newton and Sonupe came on, we looked on the front foot so disappointed to not get the three but we will take the one.

“If you look at it before the game, Northampton had changed manager and been very good at home, six or seven unbeaten and they have got decent players.

“We played good football. We know that if we are going to kick it into their big centre-backs they are probably going to win them. We are at our best when we pass the ball and I thought we passed it really well considering the conditions. Ben Kennedy was fantastic playing in-between the lines and I thought we were a threat going forward. I am just disappointed that we didn’t get that winner at the end because I felt that if the game carried on another five minutes we probably would have won it.”

Kennedy’s all-important goal came about from a failed clearance by the Northampton goalkeeper, as the ball fell to him from outside the box. Cool, calm and collected, he curled the ball away from the struggling Northampton defenders and into the empty net.

“It was good composure, we needed that. We have been having chances at snatching at them but Kenners has got quality and the ball couldn’t have fell to a better player in that position to keep his composure and put it in the back of the net. It was a nice little finish.”

Having struggled on the road in recent weeks, Maamria made the bold move to change system ahead of the game and he believes it was a move that paid off.

“Away from home we haven’t been great, it is no secret. You have to change something, so I thought we would go solid. Going three at the back would get us playing out from the back, it would give us an overload in the middle of the park and a front two as well. Seddon was fantastic as left sided centre-back, he stepped it to win the ball a few times to create overloads in those wide areas. I thought it worked really well.”

Finally, the game ended on a sour note as Michael Timlin was stretchered off in injury time. 

“That is the biggest disappointment of the day. Timmy is a big player for us and a fantastic lad as well. He has got a gash in his leg, I think he might be out two to three weeks. He will probably need 20 stitches, he has gone to hospital and hopefully he will be ok.”

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