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Maamria: "Really Encouraging"

21 August 2019

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Dino Maamria was pleased to see his side put in their best performance of the season on Tuesday night as a mixture of bad luck, superb goalkeeping and poor finishing meant that Boro were unable to capitalise on a dominant showing...

“The lads performed really well," Maamria said. "There are no complaints, we were outstanding. Overall as a performance, we were on the front foot from minute one and we did everything possible to win the football match, we just couldn’t score a goal.

“It was a proper smash and grab game. They haven’t even scored their own goal. They have an experience to see games out, earn free-kicks at the right time but as a performance, we totally dominated them.

“Any other night we would have scored two or three and easily won the game with that level of performance. It is very encouraging; this is our best performance so far. They have been getting better despite changing the team every game, which is not ideal. We haven’t had that rhythm, that understanding and that continuity between the players so it has been difficult, but the eleven that I put on tonight and the subs who came on were absolutely fantastic.”

The biggest positive to come out from the early season is the form of Stevenage’s youngsters, who have had to stand up and be counted whilst senior pros fall by the wayside to injury on a weekly basis.

“We have eight first team players injured, including the back three from last season, but all the players have stepped up. You like at Luis Fernandez, you look at Kelland, you look at Noor today, Jack Smith and Joel Rollinson who came on, that is really encouraging and a big, big positive.

“In a situation like this, when you lose 80% of your first team players, to get the young ones to step up and dominate a very experienced and expensive side like Bradford City tonight, those young lads have got a bright future.”

One player who has struggled with injuries in the past is Ben Kennedy, who made his return to the side against Bradford and looked like he hadn’t missed a beat. Only the crossbar denied Kennedy a goalscoring return, with just minutes left in the match.

“We have got to look after Ben. He showed his class tonight when he came on, he got on the ball, gave us that composure and attacking threat, threaded a few balls in, he was back at his best tonight.

“We have to introduce him slowly, but we know what Ben Kennedy can do. He is happy, he is enjoying his football and it is brilliant news for us to have him back.

“I didn’t expect him to be fit but probably with the numbers we have, he did that extra work to make himself available and he wanted to do a job. Fair play to him, I love that and it meant a lot to him tonight. It was a good performance and I would have loved that goal to go in.”


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