BORO FINISH TIRING WEEK IN STYLE AS POMPEY FALL
Promotion push back on track...
STEVENAGE boss Darren Sarll believes a convincing victory over promotion rivals Portmsouth was the perfect way to conquer an emotionally draining week.
Boro went into the break two goals to the good following strikes from skipper Jack King and inform striker Matt Godden.
Jobi McAnuff made sure of the result with a fine finish, while substitute Conor Chaplin missed a consolation penalty for the visitors in the dying moments.
Pompey also finished the game with ten men, as Christian Burgess topped off a miserable afternoon with his second booking with 15 minutes remaining.
Stevenage suffered midweek defeat in a trip to Blackpool, and Sarll spoke of his pride at how his players dealt with the physical and mental strains imposed on them.
He said: “I can’t tell you how tough this seven days has been emotionally and physically.
“For them to get themselves together and put in a performance like that is incredible.
“There was so much energy and belief in what we did, and to see your team do what they have been asked to do under pressure and tiredness – there is no better moment.”
Sarll also reiterated the huge importance of his side’s upcoming
derby clash against Cambridge, suggesting that where they are in the table is insignificant to what they want to achieve as a team.
“It’s important we win Saturday, of course,” he added.
“There are murmurs of promotion, but I don’t care whether we are 24th, 19th, 12th, all I want to do is beat Cambridge.”
Boro arguably should have gone ahead earlier than they did, as Josh McQuoid’s follow-up from a David Forde fumble clearly crossed the line before Tom Davies’ lastditch clearance.
But they did hit the net in the 16th minute as Luke Wilkinson’s spectacular long-range effort smacked the bar, leaving King with a simple header from six yards. They made it two ten minutes later as Godden snuck in behind the Pompey defence and – with all the composure in the world – volley home Charlie Lee’s lofted cross, netting his 13th goal in 15 appearances in 2017. Stevenage then made sure of the three points as McAnuff pounced on an error at the back in the 46th minute to find the bottom corner from the left.
Burgess made matters worse after picking up his second yellow for a clumsy challenge on Godden late on, while Chaplin missed a penalty in the dying moments with a poorly-executed chip.
Portsmouth boss Paul Cook was an animated figure on the touchline, and was involved in several heated exchanges with the home bench, but he refused to be drawn on that for their loss.
“I’m not going to discuss that with you,” he said.
“Yes I was frustrated and yes we had spoken during the game but it was nothing out of the ordinary from a typical League Two match.
“I felt some decisions went against us, and vice versa, but we lost 3-0 away from home and that simply isn’t good enough from us.”
Looking ahead to their next league match at home to Newport, Cook emphasised the need to focus on their previous three-game winning run before their humbling this weekend.
“We’ve been playing really well these last few weeks and we need to remember that when we prepare for next week, otherwise we’ll get beat again – simple as that,” he added.
“Defensively it was not good enough from us out there, but we will move on.
“We are still in a great position, we have fantastic fans – the season isn’t over after one loss like this.”
LONG LIVE THE KING: Jack King powers in a header for Stevenage’s opener
GOOD ANUFF: Jobi McAnuff celebrates scoring Stevenage’s third goal as, inset, Matt Godden notches the second
STAR MAN MATT GODDEN Stevenage