CHARLES KING FOR WESTLEY
GRAHAM Westley hopes hunger and the optimism of youth will outweigh naivety after Stevenage got back up-andrunning against Shrewsbury.
Having suffered back-to-back defeats, Westley was desperate for a win and it came in fortuitous circumstances through Darius Charles.
His left-footed volley from a free-kick took a massive deflection and wrong-footed Shrews keeper Jayson Leutwiler – and that proved to be the decisive moment in the match.
Stevenage lost Simon Walton in the 15th minute, which didn’t help their cause for experience, and survived after Jermaine Grandison rattled the bar late on.
Westley addressed his team’s failings but insisted the eagerness on show at Broadhall Way more than made up for any negatives in the performance.
“When we began the season I expected that we would have a few ugly wins along the way to becoming a decent side,” he said.
“There have been moments when we have had ugly defeats and ugly draws but it was an ugly win and I guess the lads are getting better.
“One thing we didn’t want with all the youngsters that we had out on the pitch was to lose Simon Walton and lose one of our bits of experience.
“If you look at the number of leagues games in terms of experience that there were on the pitch, there wasn’t a lot.
“And if you look at some of the decisions we made, they were a little bit naïve and inexperienced from our players.
“But the appetite was there and when you have got the appetite and players that are learning about the league it’s a joy to be the manager.”
The visitors’ best chance of the first half came when Connor Goldson released Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro over the top but he wasted the opportunity and fired wide of the left post.
Charles got lucky after a freekick to give Stevenage the lead in the 36th minute before James Collins provided Akpa Akpro with another chance at the near post but Sam Beasant was equal to it.
Connor Calcutt and Charlie Lee were both denied by Leutwiler as Stevenage started the second half brightly and Bira Dembele was wide with a free header while Grandison hit the bar late on.
Shrewsbury haven’t scored in their three defeats and boss Micky Mellon said: “The story of the game is that if we don’t take our chances we are going to find it very difficult.
“But apart from not taking our chances and scoring no goals I’ve got to be pleased with the performance.
“We kept going and we were relentless and created chances, so all credit to the boys, the only thing that was missing for us was getting a goal at an important time.
“I’ll be concerned if we don’t create chances; I know that I’ve got good strikers and eventually we will give someone a good beating.”
STEVENAGE: (4-4-2) Beasant 5, Dembele 6, Wells 8, Henry 7, Charles 8, Whelpdale 6, Conlon 7, Walton 6 (Calcutt 15 7), Pett 6 (Deacon 84), Lancaster 6 (Marriott 45 6), Lee 5 Subs not used: Day, Richens, Ashton, Beardsley SHREWSBURY: (4-4-2) Leutwiler 8, Grandison 5, Ellis 6, Goldson 7, Knight-Percival 6, Clark 5 (Vernon 62 6), Wesolowski 5, Woods 7, AkpaAkpro 7, Collins 7 Subs not used: Halstead, Demetriou, Vincent, Lawrence, Wildig, Griffith
STAR MAN DARIUS CHARL
age WHO DARIUS WINS: Charles celebrates after scoring the winning goal for Stevenage