Murray hails players character after Stevenage are beaten at One Call Stadium.
Manager Adam Murray hailed our players’ performance and character as our team brought an end to a six-match winless run in Sky Bet League Two with a priceless 1-0 victory over Stevenage at One Call Stadium.
After a goalless first half, substitute Reggie Lambe scored what proved to be the only goal of the game, seven minutes after he was brought on at half-time.
The victory lifts our team up three places to 20th position in Sky Bet League Two – above Tranmere Rovers, Cheltenham Town, York City and Hartlepool United, who were all beaten this afternoon.
“I can’t ask any more from the boys – the performance, the effort, the application and the commitment to the cause and this football club, from all of them, is amazing and they’ve done themselves proud today,” said Murray.
“The game was really scrappy as we knew it would be. We set up to make it like that in the first half and we always had Plan B in mind, and it paid off.
“Stevenage do everything they can to win and even though sometimes I feel that it comes across as a little bit disrespectful, this game is about winning. He [Graham Westley] is a top manager and he does what he does for certain reasons, so that’s a big win for us.”
Murray continued: “The league table doesn’t look any better to me – we’re still in a relegation battle.
“Everybody hit the panic button because we dropped below that dotted line [after last week’s game at Carlisle United]. There are 18 games to go and, for me, it’s going to be a battle all the way.
“So it’s a massive result for us. To that dressing room, it feels like they’ve won the World Cup at the minute, but within the next 24 hours we’ll come back down to earth with a bump and start again on Monday and continue this fight to stay in the league.
“Three points is the most important thing. First and foremost I want people to be proud of the team that is out there and know that they’re giving 200% to the cause – that’s a big thing for me.
“With the process that we’re on, then we’ll be successful eventually. Whether success is staying in the league, or next season getting promoted, we will be successful and I’m fully confident in that.
“I feel confident in these players, myself and my staff. It’s about focus – we’re in a relegation battle and we’ll regain focus again for Tuesday’s game at Morecambe.”
Our boss was forced to make a late change to his starting line-up as Ricky Ravenhill pulled his hamstring during the warm up, which meant that Jamie McGuire was drafted into the XI at short notice.
Murray praised the Livepudlian midfielder’s performance. He said: “He [Jamie McGuire] is a monster of a man and he’s a born leader. Even when he’s not in the team, he’s a huge part to the group.
“Sometimes he’s not pleasing on the eye [in his style of play], but he’s like a gel to a team and a squad. He brings everybody together, pulls people through and demands standards and I thought he was excellent today.”
Another player who impressed in this afternoon’s victory was burly frontman Matt Rhead, who grabbed an assist when he showed excellent aerial strength to get on the end of a cross by Lee Beevers and set up Reggie Lambe for a close-range finish.
Murray added: “’Rheady’ does what he does and the whole point in playing him was to get the best out of him in this situation.
“The front two took a little bit of time to get into the game in the first half, and we had a little word at half-time, but in the second half they showed what they were all about.”
One player who had a quiet afternoon was debutant Lenny Pidgeley. The custodian, who joined us on deadline day, claimed a number of balls into his area, but didn’t have any saves to make of any real note, as he kept a deserved clean-sheet on his 31st birthday.
Our boss added: “[Lenny not having to make any saves] is a credit to the back three. I thought the wing-backs worked their socks off and Lenny did what we brought him in to do.
“He didn’t shut up all game and a good ‘keeper shouldn’t have saves to make, because they organise and make sure that shots don’t come in. He did what we expected him to do and showed why we brought him into the club.”