Opposition view: Stevenage 'devastated' by defeat to 'well-organised' Cobblers, reveals Sampson

Caretaker boss Mark Sampson described Stevenage's changing room as one of the most 'devastating' he's ever been in after their 1-0 defeat to Northampton on Tuesday.

Wednesday, 18th September 2019, 4:23 pm
Mark Sampson has lost both of his games as Stevenage's caretaker manager since replacing the sacked Dino Maamria. Picture: Pete Norton

Boro, desperately chasing a first win of the season, shaded the first-half at the Lamex but came undone 11 minutes after the break when Harry Smith nodded home Nicky Adams' cross.

Despite Smith then seeing red and the home side's subsequent onslaught, that goal proved the difference between the teams as Stevenage failed to lift themselves from the bottom of League Two.

"Northampton are very well organised," said Sampson. "They bring huge physicality and down the spine of the team they've got some really big players and they test you with those long aerial balls.

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"Because they're so compact and they're happy to hook things on and play in your half of the pitch, it's difficult to get some control and we struggled with that in spells.

"It's a lesson to learn because this is a team that turned Newport over at the weekend and comfortably from what I saw and they're a hard team that will be very difficult to play against, but we limited them to very little in front of goal.

"The changing room is one of the most devastating changing rooms I've ever been in because that hurt tonight. They gave their all and just came up short."

Reflecting on the game itself, Sampson continued: "They made the change at half-time and had the big two centre-forwards on and went a bit more direct. Ultimately during that spell after half-time we've been caught not defending a cross properly.

"That's something we need to tidy up on but overall I actually felt we were the better side in the first-half without really creating clear-cut chances.

"I felt we played more of the game in their half and we had good intensity in our play but we didn't recognise when it was the right time to keep things at a high tempo and when it was the right time to keep it in a possession phase.

"They went a bit more direct at half-time and more aggressive and it took us a while to get to grips with that and we got caught on a counter-attack and a crossing situation.

"After that, the character of the players was there for everyone to see. This is a hard-working changing room and if anything we're trying a bit too hard in the final third which is resulting in us rushing at chances or not picking the right pass.

"We need to be better in the two penalty areas. We've played a game tonight where our goalkeeper hasn't had to make a save, we've had 20 shots on goal and probably 40 opportunities to create goalscoring moments but we haven't done enough to put the ball in the net."