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League One

As ugly as it comes - Stevenage manager Graham Westley

26 February 2014

Stevenage's vital 1-0 win over Crewe Alexandra was down to their players' determination to grind out the result, according to their manager Graham Westley.

Three points were a must for Boro and Francois Zoko's fifth-minute goal was enough for them to narrow the gap between themselves and the Alex down to six points.

Crewe, however, are still looking over their shoulder and are two points clear of the relegation zone after failing to make the most of their possession.

Westley said: "It wasn't pretty out there at all, in fact it was as ugly as it comes.

"We got the early goal and although we tried to encourage the lads to keep the ball and develop our game, you could see that they were just determined to keep that clean sheet.

"That's about all we did - dig in, fight hard, put our bodies on the line and we ground out a determined, very ugly 1-0 win.

"The early goal is exactly what you want when you're down there, you're nervous, you want the result and you know you've got to get the result.

"When you get the goal after four minutes you hope it's going to settle the nerves.

"If anything it bred even more anxiety with players maybe thinking 'we've got something and we need to hang on to it' but our players will grow from that experience."

Stevenage got off to the ideal start when Zoko controlled Jimmy Smith's ball into the box and got past Mark Ellis before finishing with aplomb.

Crewe probed for an equaliser with Chuks Aneke heading wide before the same man had another header fortuitously fumbled onto the crossbar by Stevenage goalkeeper Chris Day as they failed to find a way through.

Alex boss Steve Davis said: "I'm amazed we didn't get anything out of the game.

"If you were to win a game on possession percentages then we would have won easily, but unfortunately you don't get three points for keeping the ball all day.

"We had the chances - we even had three great chances before they scored, we had a great header that went flashing wide.

"In the second half we just camped in their half and they had the odd break with I think one shot on target, so all the action was down their end.

"But we couldn't seem to get that breakthrough and when we did get through them the finish wasn't there.

"I think we created as many chances in this game as we did on Saturday at Port Vale but we put three away then and we couldn't put any away here.

"That was the only difference really - we played well but came away with nothing."

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