When it rains it pours for West­ley

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Colin Hen­rys

IT IS some­times an overused foot­ball cliché, but Steve­nage boss Gra­ham West­ley could only be­moan foot­ball’s cruel na­ture af­ter Rother­ham snatched a late vic­tory at the New York Sta­dium.

Fran­cois Zoko looked to have earned the vis­i­tors a late point when he can­celled out Wes Thomas’ first-half opener but Lee Freck­ling­ton snatched an even later win­ner for the Millers.

And West­ley – who felt the first goal should not have stood – in­sisted his bot­tom-placed side had de­served more for their ef­forts on the day.

“I feel for the lads,” he said.“I think they put a lot of work in and they spent them­selves.

“Foot­ball can be cruel some­times and it was cer­tainly cruel to us.

“We were dev­as­tated not to get the de­ci­sion for the first goal. We’re not look­ing for ex­cuses, but our keeper has the ball in his hands.

“I think 99 times out of 100 you will see a free­kick given.

“There’s al­ways go­ing to be a sense of real de­spon­dency when you have worked so hard to get back in it, but I think we have enough strength of char­ac­ter to be able to re­spond in the right way.”

With keeper Chris Day los­ing the ball un­der pres­sure from Alex Rev­ell, Thomas fired the hosts in front on 41 min­utes af­ter John Mous­inho had done bril­liantly to block his ini­tial ef­fort.

Steve­nage had the bet­ter of the sec­ond-half with Zoko fir­ing wide within a minute of the restart, and Luke Free­man twice miss­ing the tar­get af­ter do­ing well to make space.

They looked to have been re­warded for their ef­forts when Zoko turned in from close-range af­ter Lu­cas Akins’ flick-on on 87 min­utes.

But just mo­ments later Freck­ling­ton re­ceived the ball from Haris Vuc­kic on the edge of the box and placed a low fin­ish into the bot­tom cor­ner to snatch all three points.

And boss Steve Evans said:“It’s pleas­ing – it’s equally as good a win as we’ve had all sea­son.We were a notch down, and maybe the ex­tended break has not helped.

“But the char­ac­ter in that dress­ing room, I’ve spo­ken about for many months. One thing they’ve got is they’re re­silient and they’ll run un­til they’ve got noth­ing less.

“The char­ac­ter in win­ning, the to­geth­er­ness and de­sire for want of a bet­ter word is some­thing we have in that dress­ing room in abun­dance.

“Rother­ham were not men­tioned pre-sea­son, and we’ve just gone about our pol­icy of work­ing hard.

“The play-offs are still the ob­jec­tive and all we can do is keep win­ning.”

STAR MAN BEN PRINGL

E Rotherh

am

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