West­ley is see­ing an im­proved Boro side


The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Niall Kelly

STEVE­NAGE boss Gra­ham West­ley be­lieves his play­ers are al­ready start­ing to show signs of im­prove­ment af­ter only his sec­ond game back in charge of the club.

Boro left Frat­ton Park with a point af­ter their first visit to Portsmouth, while Pom­pey – whose fu­ture may be­come clearer fol­low­ing a court hear­ing next week – stretched their run of un­beaten games at home to six.

West­ley, who took charge of Steve­nage for the third time last month, is pleased with his play­ers’ re­sponse.

“I’ve been really pleased with the at­ti­tude of the play­ers and their re­ac­tion, they’re really ap­ply­ing them­selves,” said West­ley.

“I think a lot of play­ers are do­ing them­selves a lot of good, there’s a lot of pos­i­tive things be­ing showed at the club. Four points in a week and two clean sheets is a good way to start.

“It was our sec­ond clean sheet in a week and it was hard earned. I thought the play­ers showed good or­gan­i­sa­tion and re­silience but we had the more mem­o­rable chances in the game, none more so than the late one.”

Portsmouth’s Jed Wal­lace had the game’s first real chance in 25 minute with a curl­ing free kick 25-yards out, but Boro keeper Steve Arnold kept it out.

Wal­lace again tested the Boro de­fence with a tricky cross, but John Akinde and David Con­nolly were un­able to get on the end of it.

With just over 15 min­utes re­main­ing Steve­nage should’ve taken the lead. An ex­cel­lent cross from Luke Free­man was met by Filipe Mo­rais, whose glanc­ing header flashed across the face of goal.

Portsmouth’s Yassin Moutaouakil and Boro’s An­thony Grant then came head-to-head in and in­ci­dent that could have seen the Pom­pey man sent off.

In the dy­ing sec­onds of the game the vis­i­tors had the chance to win it when Mar­cus Haber got on the end of a cross from Free­man, but the cross­bar de­nied the sub­sti­tute’s ef­fort.

“We ex­pected Yassin Moutaouakil to be sent off,” said Portsmouth care­taker man­ager Guy Whit­ting­ham.

“But hav­ing not seen the full in­ci­dent, and with the lines­man and the other of­fi­cials see­ing more of it, we trusted the of­fi­cials made the right de­ci­sion.

“Like ev­ery­body, we just want to know the re­sult of the court case.We can’t af­fect that, all we can af­fect is stuff on the pitch and we just hope things off the pitch work out in our favour.

“The way we view it now, we need as many points as we can pos­si­bly get.We’re on such a good run and we can­not take any­thing for granted.”

WINGER: Im­pres­sive Jed Wal­lace


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