The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Blair Fer­gu­son

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

PIC­TURES: Me­dia Im­age Ltd


ES Steven

age WHO DAR­IUS WINS: Charles cel­e­brates after scor­ing the win­ning goal for Steve­nage

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