Morecambe 1 Stevenage 2: How the managers reacted

Jim Bentley and his assistant Ken McKenna      Picture: B&O Press Photo
Jim Bentley and his assistant Ken McKenna Picture: B&O Press Photo

Luke Wilkinson’s stoppage-time winner saw Stevenage claim three points at the Globe Arena today.

The substitute struck late on after Morecambe’s Kevin Ellison had cancelled out Ben Kennedy’s first-half penalty.

This is how Morecambe boss Jim Bentley and his Stevenage counterpart, Dino Maamria, saw the game today.

Jim Bentley: “It’s hard, to be honest; the job’s hard and things like that don’t help.

“I feel numb to be honest; we shot ourselves in the foot in the first half which was probably as bad as it’s been, maybe in the last 12 or 18 months.

“Last week, there were lots of good signs; today we thought ‘do we go more defensive with (Alex) Kenyon or more offensive with (Liam) Mandeville?’

“You’ve got to be adaptable but it’s so frustrating because we speak about mindsets and what we expect of them.

“When we turn in a performance like that in the first half, it takes me to lose my voice to get them going.

“We were terrible in the first half but we finished it with Rhys Oates and Jordan Cranston having a couple of shots, so we looked like we had recovered from it.

“I was thankful it was only 1-0 at half-time; we didn’t win first or second balls, we didn’t track runners.

“In 90 per cent of games, even when the result hasn’t gone for us, we’ve been clapped off but, today, we were open to criticism.

“I could hear it – because it’s a lonely place in the dugout – and they have every right but the crowd were excellent in the second half.”

Dino Maamria: “It was a game of two halves; the first half, we were outstanding – the best we’ve played away from home.

“Probably the only negative in the first half was that we didn’t score as many as we should have done.

“We had spoken this week about we could make our away form better; we had analysed the games we’d played away from home, what we had done well and not so well.

“I didn’t think we started the second half but, credit to Morecambe, they put us on the back foot and didn’t allow us to play from the back like we did first half.

“That affected us a little bit but Michael Timlin came off injured and was sturggling at half-time, (Ben) Nugent struggled with a hamstring plus Danny Newton and James Ball carried on limping.

“Having said that, we showed our resilience to win it in the way we did and there’s no better way to win it than with Wilks’ (Luke Wilkinson) header.

“We had three players injured; two came off and one stayed on.

“James Ball had one of his ribs broken and then Nugent came off; for the fourth official to put eight added minutes on was ridiculous.

“However, we train our players longer than other clubs because we prepare for those scenarios.

“We weren’t happy with the draw and knew we’d get stronger and create chances – which we did.”