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League One

Crawley Town manager John Gregory: We should have won

5 March 2014

Crawley Town manager John Gregory was left frustrated following his side's 1-1 draw with League 1 strugglers Stevenage.

The hosts looked to have suffered their first defeat in seven matches when Bira Dembele's first-half header gave Stevenage the lead.

Matt Tubbs, looking for his sixth goal in five matches, missed a penalty with 15 minutes to play but made amends in injury time when he beat Chris Day with a confident finish.

Despite avoiding defeat, Gregory was disappointed his side failed to secure the three points.

"They had to camp in their own penalty box for the last 40 minutes of the second half and we went on to miss chance after chance," he said.

"We should've won 5-1 without any question but we didn't and fortunately we got away with the point.

"Our lads kept going, that's the spirit that these boys have got and you can never write them off, and it was certainly no more than what we deserved at the end."

With four games in hand in most of their rivals, Gregory insists he must continue to change his squad after handing on-loan Crystal Palace midfielder Hiram Boateng his debut.

"Everyone has been in great knick in the last couple of days, they love playing football matches and here at home in front of our own fans, and we came out but couldn't really get started," he added.

"Obviously I pick a team and I have to try and use everybody - we've got such a fixture pile-up as you know coming up - and I can't play the best eleven every time we step out on the pitch.

"I have to make changes otherwise I'm going to have nobody left in a couple of weeks if I continue to play the same people week after week."

Regardless of the disappointment, the former Aston Villa manager has hailed the spirit of the dressing room.

He added: "They've got this spirit, it was here really before I came so I can't take too much credit for that, they have got an amazing spirit as a group of players."

Stevenage boss Graham Westley, on the other hand, was delighted at how his side performed in the first half but believes the home advantage took its toll on the visitors.

"It was a game where we took control of the first half and really got on the front foot and played some intelligent football considering the conditions, which were very difficult," he said.

"We got ourselves ahead through a well worked set-play, which was nice, and at half-time there looked there would only be one winner.

"But you always knew that a home side that hand't travelled at the weekend or didn't have to travel tonight might have a little burst of energy at some stage and sure enough we looked like a travelled side in the second half."

Chris Day had little to do in the Stevenage goal but despite saving the penalty from Tubbs, Westley has no sympathy for the goalkeeper conceding late on.

He said: "I don't feel sorry for a goalkeeper that lets a goal in because his job's to keep a clean sheet. If you start feeling sorry for someone who hasn't done his job than you're on the road to ruin.

"It looked as if our goal was going to live a charmed life and we were going to get away with it but in the end you'd have to say they deserved the point and probably could've got more."

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