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Maamria: "We were fantastic"

2 January 2019

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Dino Maamria couldn't have been prouder of his players following the 1-0 victory over Newport County on New Years Day...

Circumstances once again conspired against his team but it wasn't enough to deny Stevenage victory as Alex Revell's header won the game with less than five minutes to go.

"I thought it was a brilliant game, both teams were going for it. Our second half was different class. The start wasn’t too good, which is the normal thing now. I think we stayed in the game in the first half and in the second half we always get stronger and we did that today.

"They needed a win, we needed a win, neither of us are in great form in terms of the last 6 games and it was a great game, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I enjoyed our performance and I think we were fantastic."

A second red card in as many games for Stevenage saw Kurtis Guthrie dismissed in the first half after a 50/50 challenge with former Boro man, Fraser Franks.

Players and supporters were immediately incensed with the decision and Maamria says it was one that shouldn't have been given.

"We should be talking about the win and the brilliant performance of the players but here we are again.

"I am going to see the referee. I did not say much about it because the referee was closer to it but I asked him at half time if he was sure about it and he said, ‘yes’ he was sure becuase he said he stamped on his thigh.

"I spoke to Fraser Franks, the player that got hurt, he said 'no he didnt catch me, it was a clash of knees'. I watched the footage, it was a clash of knees."

The decision only seemed to sharpen the focus of his players though as they kept attacking throughout the second half until Alex Revell eventually found the winner. 

"I have been panicky in previous performances but in the second half I thought only one team was going to win it, and I thought that was us.

"We went to a 4-3-2, I wanted to keep two up front and I wanted to win the game with 10 men. I did not want to use it as an excuse, I used it to galvanise us. I think we were on the front foot throughout, I think Danny Newton was brilliant throughout the game and we were a threat going forward.

"Yes, they threw a couple of balls into the box late on, that is always going to happen and we dealt with them fairly well. Apart from that, we were well in the game and we were the better team in the second half with 10 men."

Revell's goal was a sweet moment for both the team and striker after suffering a dry spell in-front of goal over the past few months. Although nobody ever doubts his contribution to the team, Maamria says it was an important goal for him.

"He needed that, he has taken a lot of criticism. I rested him the last couple of games, I think he needed it as well because he has never missed a training session which is something that people do not see.

"He has never missed a game, which a lot of people can see now and at his age, with his experience and everything, I thought I had no alternative than to rest him a little bit. And as you can see, he came on today fresh and what a fantastic winner that was."

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