English League 1

Westley eyes major improvement

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Sat, 13 Apr 2013 20:49:00

Vitesse Arnhem lie second in the Eredivisie table after being held to a 3-3 draw at struggling Roda JC on Saturday despite going three goals in front.

Mike Havenaar scored after 26 and 36 minutes and Wilfried Bony added a third after 56 to put Vitesse on course for a win which would have taken them joint top with leaders Ajax.

Sanharib Malki pulled a goal back from the penalty spot after 63 minutes and Frank Demouge gave Roda more hope when he scored their second with 20 minutes to go.

But it was left up to Mitchell Donald to score the equaliser in injury time which earned his side a point but still sees them in the relegation play-off spots.

Two late goals from substitute Dmitri Bulykin fired FC Twente to a 3-1 away win over over ADO Den Haag to keep his side in contention for European qualification.

Douglas had given the visitors the lead after 24 minutes but Mike van Duinen drew the home side level four minutes before half-time.

Danny Holla was sent off for ADO on the hour and 14 minutes later Bulykin joined the action when he replaced Tim Breukers.

Bulykin put his side ahead after 81 minutes and sealed the victory when he scored again two minutes later.

A goal from David Texeira after 62 minutes and a penalty from Leandro Bacuna (76) saw FC Groningen win 2-0 away against Heracles Almelo, while late strikes from Anthony Lurling (82) and Elson Hooi (85) earned NAC Breda a 2-0 home win over NEC Nijmegen.

A 1-1 home draw with play-off chasing Walsall leaves the Iron in the bottom four, two points adrift of safety, but Laws remains optimistic about keeping them up.

"It does look a difficult task now but we have got to keep believing we can do it," said Laws.

"I thought our first half display was really good and we should have been a couple of goals in front. But the goals have dried up for us now and that is really hurting us.

"The goals are not coming at times when we are dominating games. I really believe that if we had scored first against Walsall, then we would have gone on and won this game.

"But you could see a reaction when it was they who scored just after half-time. Credit to my team though that they kept going to got back into the game with a late equaliser.

"Will that be enough - who know's? I can quite understand our supporters going away at the end feeling 'that is it'. But we cannot think like that. I know the situation we are in is now difficult but we have got to believe we still have a chance of getting out of trouble.

"We have got a big match at Bury now on Tuesday night and we have got to go there and get three points. Nothing else will do, but if we can come away with a win, then that will keep the pressure on the teams around us."

Centre-back Niall Canavan salvaged Scunthorpe a point with an 88th-minute header after Will Grigg had fired Walsall in front from close range after 54 minutes with his 19th goal of the season.

Goals from Chris Porter and Dave Kitson won it for the Blades, who parted company with manager Danny Wilson in midweek.

MacDonald said: "There were a few choice words in that dressing room because, not for the first time recently, we've produced a performance that wasn't up to scratch.

"We're a good team and we know we can do much better than that. Now it's up to us to go out there and show it in our next match.

"We showed flashes of it against a United team which we always knew was going to be very fired up because of what has gone on in the week.

"But we've got to put that together now over the course of 90 minutes rather than in bits."

Centre-back Niall Canavan salvaged struggling Scunthorpe a 1-1 draw with an 88th-minute header. However, the Iron remain deep in relegation trouble and only a brilliant stoppage-time save by Eirik Holmen Johansen saved them from defeat as the Saddlers pressed for the winning goal that would have seen them climb into the play-off places.

After a slow start, the visitors looked set for the three points they needed when leading marksman Will Grigg, back after injury, fired them in front from close range after 54 minutes with his 19th goal of the season from a good pull-back by Craig Westcarr.

"We are still in a great position," said Smith, whose side are now unbeaten in 14 league games and are one point behind sixth-placed Swindon but having played a game more than the Robins.

"We have just now got to prepare ourselves to go again in our last two games of the season. This bunch of players have worked so hard in the second half of the season to get us into the position we are now in.

"I was disappointed with the way we played in the first half - and I told them so. I thought we came out in the second half and showed much more spirit.

"It was a difficult decision to bring Will Grigg back into the team after injury when we had been playing so well, but he is our leading scorer with 20 goals now this season and you can't afford to leave someone like that out. That was underlined when he shot us in front early in the second half.

"We should then have gone on and killed the game off. We had the chances and I think we were unfortunate not to win.

"We have a very disappointed dressing room in there, but other results have gone for us and we have not lost any ground. We have now got to go again next Saturday when we take on Bury."

Morgan, who made nearly 300 appearances for the Blades as a player before joining Danny Wilson's backroom staff, was handed the reins when the former Northern Ireland international left Bramall Lane in midweek.

Speaking after goals from Chris Porter and Dave Kitson put Swindon to the sword, Morgan said: "If we are going to get promoted then it's going to be through team unity and that's what we had out there.

"Every professional footballer is talented but if you've got that desire and determination to be better than your opponent then that's going to stand you in good stead. That's what we had out there."

Morgan added: "That's an important win for us but I guarantee you there won't be two happier people seeing that result than Danny Wilson and (his assistant) Frank Barlow.

"It's never nice when people leave because there are people here, myself included, who have a great affinity with Danny and Frank. But the response was excellent."

A brace from top scorer Brett Pitman, an early penalty and an unstoppable 25-yard shot, was added to by an own goal from Jermaine Grandison as the Cherries equalled a club record of seven successive Football League victories.

The result leaves the Shrews still anxiously looking over their shoulder at the League One relegation zone.

"It was difficult watching," admitted Turner. "Bournemouth are a team in form and they're right up there for a reason, and we're a side near the bottom of the table for a reason.

"That was evident but what was annoying was they out worked us.

"They've got some very good players, some excellent players by these standards, and they're well organised. The only way we could really get a result was to out-work them and we didn't. We came off second best in that as well."

Shrewsbury are six points clear of the relegation zone but Turner insists there is still work to do.

"We've got three massive games left and we need one win," he added. "We have to regroup. It's no good getting carried away because of this defeat.

"You have to hold your hands up as we've been beaten by a better side. Our defending was a bit shambolic at times and we contributed to our downfall with the penalty so early, but we've got to be prepared to be ready for Colchester next Saturday."

A brace from top scorer Brett Pitman, an early penalty and an unstoppable 25-yard shot, was added to by an own goal from Jermaine Grandison as the Cherries equalled a club record of seven successive Football League victories.

Howe was delighted to see his side join John Bond's team of 1970-71 in the club's hall of fame.

He said: "It means a great deal and hopefully we can go one better next week."

But Howe is more concerned with Bournemouth holding on to a top-two spot.

"I see a steely determination in the group," he added. "I don't see flamboyance or any big gestures or any sign that we're ahead of ourselves.

"I just see players that are desperate to achieve success for the football club and desperate to win games. That's a really good sign and hopefully we can stay where we are at the moment.

"They're a very good group of players. They're young but they've got their feet on the floor and we know there's a lot of teams snapping at our heels. It's really tight so that's keeping us very much in the moment and concentrating on next week."

Westley was beaten for the first time since returning as manager on Saturday as Yeovil triumphed 2-0 at the Lamex Stadium.

James Hayter crashed the ball home from close range after 81 minutes to confirm all three points for the Glovers, who had taken the lead through Sam Foley eight minutes after half-time.

The visitors lost Dan Burn to a second yellow card in stoppage time but by then the game was all over.

For the home side, Dani Lopez had a 35th-minute header, which was destined for the top left-hand corner of the net, saved by a diving Marek Stech after the Spanish striker was picked out in the box by Lucas Akins.

It was the closest Stevenage came to breaching the Yeovil defence and Westley said: "In fairness there was a vast difference in the application of the two teams to win the game."

"There were too many moments where we didn't show enough discipline and organisation, we didn't show enough will to win, we didn't show enough urgency and that's why they are in fourth place and why we are where we are.

"We've watched promotion teams here. Promotion teams play a certain way. They keep the ball out of their net one way or the other. Their goalkeeper made a brilliant save. Whatever it takes you keep it out of your net and whatever it takes you put it in theirs.

"They had a bit more desire, a bit more care and a bit more urgency than we did and at the end they won. We tested ourselves against one of the better sides and we came up short in my opinion. We didn't come close to winning the points."

Westley masterminded successive promotions to League One during his first spell as Stevenage manager.

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