The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Matt Wright

STEVE­NAGE manager Gra­ham West­ley saw set-pieces win the day for his side against New­port as they leap-frogged their op­po­nents and moved to within goal dif­fer­ence of the play-off places.

This was the Boro’s fourth win in five games and their sec­ond this week against a team around them in the ta­ble as they look to re­peat the late charge that earned pro­mo­tion to League One in 2011.

For long pe­ri­ods they looked com­fort­able af­ter two set-piece goals gave them breath­ing space, but they were left hang­ing on af­ter the vis­i­tors had pulled one back.

West­ley said: “We got our­selves into an ex­cel­lent po­si­tion with a well-ex­e­cuted cor­ner and a well-ex­e­cuted free-kick.

“It was dis­ap­point­ing to con­cede their goal, es­pe­cially from a set play be­cause jobs weren’t done, but it was good to show a bit of re­silience.

“I don’t think we were at our best but if you’re go­ing to be suc- cess­ful, you’re go­ing to have to some­times win games when you just have to grind things out.

“For our goals, they know that when they go into the box at a set play it’s him or you, and you’ve got to put a lot of work in to make sure it’s you.”

Steve­nage cre­ated the game’s first chance af­ter 20 min­utes when Dean Par­rett’s shot was met with a strong hand by New­port goal­keeper Joe Day.

And it was the Boro who broke through just af­ter half-hour mark when Simon Wal­ton’s cor­ner was pow­er­fully met by the head of Char­lie Lee.

Miles Storey was then pre­sented with a great chance to equalise shortly af­ter half-time fol­low­ing Bira Dem­bele’s mis­take, but his rather tame at­tempt was pushed out by Chris Day.

Steve­nage dou­bled their lead with a quar­ter of the game left and it was from an­other set-piece as Dem­bele nod­ded in Ben Kennedy’s free-kick.

New­port gave them­selves late hope when Adam Chap­man sent a crisp vol­ley into the bot­tom cor­ner fol­low­ing Rob­bie Will­mott’s cor­ner in the 88th minute.

Mark Byrne then al­most snatched an un­likely point in stop­page time when his low shot was kept out by Chris Day’s legs be­fore the Ex­iles’ lost Chris Ze­broski to a red card.

New­port boss Jimmy Dack saw his side fall out of the top seven and he said:“It’s about the cut­ting edge in the fi­nal third.

“We’re just got to be a bit more ruth­less in front of goal. The char­ac­ter is there and they had a real go to­wards the end.

“It’s not the fact that they’re not try­ing, but we just look a lit­tle bit ner­vous in front of goal at the mo­ment. “I sup­pose that goal is just look­ing that lit­tle bit smaller at the mo­ment.

“I said be­fore the game that there were 12 games to go and I al­ways said six wins should get you in the play-offs. “Our sup­port­ers who have come all the way to Steve­nage would have seen that we’ve had some great chances in the sec­ond half.”

PIC­TURES: Me­dia Im­age Ltd

JUMP: Bira Dem­bele gets above the County de­fence to head home the win­ner HOOF: Dar­ren Jones clears the ball for New­port STAR MAN BEN KENNE

DY Steven


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