‘We gave ourselves a mountain to climb’ – U’s boss McGreal after defeat to Stevenage

Stevenage keeper Paul Farman just beats a fast-approaching Sammie Szmodics to the ball, during today

Stevenage keeper Paul Farman just beats a fast-approaching Sammie Szmodics to the ball, during today's 2-1 home defeat to Stevenage. Picture: STEVE WALLER WWW.STEPHENWALLER.COM - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Colchester United boss, John McGreal, admitted that his side gave themselves a “mountain to climb” by conceding two first-half goals during this afternoon’s 2-1 home defeat to Stevenage, who celebrated their first away win since October.

An own goal by keeper Rene Gilmartin (five minutes) and a close-range finish by Danny Newton (35) put The Boro in the driving seat, before Luke Prosser set up an exciting finale with an 83rd minute goal from a corner.

“We stuck to our guns and stuck to our principles of play, dominating the game really,” explained McGreal.

“But we gave ourselves a mountain to climb, when we went 2-0 down.

“If you think back, and look at what has gone on – they scored quite early and the second goal was a little bit of a killer – but we’ve changed it at half-time and tried to come out to get something from the game.

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“We moved one or two players around, because I felt we needed a bit more urgency, even though we were still dominating the game.

“When you are 2-0 down you feels as though you need to react. We put a few different personnel, which worked well with different attacks from different areas.

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“We had a lot of endeavour, but we just needed that early goal in the second half, which just wouldn’t come.

– Match report of U’s 1 Stevenage 2

“It was an unfortunate first goal. It was obviously disappointing marking in the box with them getting in the header, but the ball then comes off the post and hits Rene (Gilmartin), so it was a tough one to take,” added McGreal.

Meanwhile, Stevenage boss Dino Maamria was delighted with the way his side started the game, after the disruption caused by arriving at the Jobserve Stadium in a fleet of taxies, due to their team-coach breaking down near Stansted.

The kick-off was delayed for 15 minutes, but it didn’t take long for The Boro to hit their stride with a fifth minute opening goal.

“We’ll have to do that again!” joked Maamria, with reference to the coach breakdown. “That’s the best start to a game we have had this season!

“We got stuck and had to travel to the ground in taxis, but full credit to the players. They stood up the adversity, and that the’s first time we have scored inside the first five minutes.

“Everything came together today against a very good team in Colchester, who have bene flying at home. They have one of the best home records in the division, but we had beaten them (3-1 at home) only a few weeks ago.

“I thought we were full of energy,” added Maamria.

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