Ex­pe­ri­ence means the most to Steve­nage

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By James Walker

STEVE­NAGE boss Gra­ham West­ley be­lieves his side could and should have net­ted more goals, de­spite record­ing their big­gest win of the sea­son.

Chris Whelp­dale and Charlie Lee scored inside the open­ing five min­utes to get Boro off to a dream start be­fore Whelp­dale added his sec­ond late on.

It was third clean sheet in four games for Boro and a point would have seen Mans­field move into a play-off po­si­tion.

Gra­ham West­ley said: “It was a strong dis­play. In the sec­ond-half we were much, much bet­ter and we could eas­ily have run out with a much big­ger score line with the chances we had.

“It was great to get the re­lief from those two early goals, that would’ve given the play­ers some con­fi­dence and we took the game for­ward.

“We had more ex­pe­ri­ence on the pitch to­day and, I’ve been say­ing it all year, when you get your ex­pe­ri­enced boys out there you start to see pat­terns that are dif­fer­ent, bet­ter and show more ma­tu­rity.

“To­day the qual­ity of foot­ball was much bet­ter.”

Whelp­dale opened in the third minute after a pin­point pass from Tom Pett left him one-on-one with Dim­i­tar Ev­ti­mov.

The Bul­gar­ian blocked the first ef­fort with his legs but the Steve­nage mid­fielder passed the re­bound into the mid­dle of an open goal from eight yards.

Charlie Lee dou­bled the lead with a sim­ple fin­ish two min­utes later.

The 27-year-old was found un­marked by a Chris Beard­s­ley cross and he calmly slot­ted home from the mid­dle of the area.

Whelp­dale tapped in at the back post to seal the win in the 83rd minute.

Sec­ond-half sub­sti­tute Roarie Dea­con pro­vided the as­sist after he cut into the area from the left wing and squared for the for­mer Gilling­ham man.

Mans­field came close to scor­ing sev­eral times in the first-half but strug­gled in the sec­ond.

Reg­gie Lambe had a tenth minute ef­fort cleared off the line by Andy Bond and Matt Rhead headed over a Rak­ish Bing­ham cross from close range just be­fore half­time.

Mans­field boss Paul Cox said:“We’ve started games re­ally pos­i­tively of late.We come out, put op­po­nents on the back foot, look sharp and re­ally fit and strong but to­day it was over in ten min­utes.

“After those first two goals were con­ceded we must have had three or four great chances to get back on equal terms but from back to front it was one of those days where we didn’t show up.

“I’m go­ing to have to go back and look at what we’ve done.

“Look at fresh­en­ing some of the lads up and try to get them fit­ter and sharper and we’ll go again next Satur­day.”


DALE Steven


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