Mark Sampson sees positives as Stevenage held by Cambridge

Posted Sunday, September 29, 2019 by PA

Mark Sampson sees positives as Stevenage held by Cambridge

Stevenage manager Mark Sampson refused to be downcast despite seeing his side ship a late goal against Cambridge that keeps them marooned at the foot of the League Two table.

Sam Smith netted a late equaliser as Cambridge came from behind to earn a 1-1.

Winless Boro hit the front early on through Jason Cowley’s close-range strike, but Cambridge piled on the pressure in the second half and were rewarded when Smith found the net seven minutes from time.

But Sampson believes there was several positives following the draw.

“It’s a game we should have finished off in the first half,” said Sampson.

“We started well, showed good intensity and the goal is well worked between the two centre forwards, who caused Cambridge all sorts of problems.

“We probably had four or five good moments in the first 15 minutes where we scored one goal and could’ve had at least another one.

“Then towards the end of the half they got a grip on the game, and in the second we were waiting for that final whistle for too long and forgot to play. We got deeper and deeper, forgot to pick that first pass out and couldn’t get ourselves up the pitch.

“But ultimately I think the desire to get that first win has probably cost us in the end.”

Cowley’s early strike was just reward for a fast start from the hosts. Elliott List cut in from the left and fired in a low shot which the Stevenage striker flicked past Dimitar Mitov.

The visitors finally found an equaliser after a brilliant burst down the left from Harrison Dunk. His cross was perfect for Smith to steer in his fourth of the season.

Marc Richards could have won it for Colin Calderwood’s men in stoppage time when he swivelled and fired in a shot which Paul Farman did brilliantly to punch to safety.

Cambridge manager Calderwood said: “We were much improved in the second half, and you could see as the game went on that Stevenage’s situation meant they showed a bit of nervousness.

“I’m delighted with the second half, and the reaction after the goal saw us get stronger and stronger. But we don’t want to be a team that’s always playing catch-up, and I think the second half was a good measure of what we’re trying to do as a team.

“We had a terrific momentum and put in a lot of effort, and the players’ attitude to trying to get an equaliser was fantastic.

“We were second best at the start of the game, and that’s where improvements need to be made.

“We knew we’d need to be at a good level but weren’t able to compete or dominate the game.”


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