Stevenage caretaker manager Mark Sampson has urged his players to take their anger out on Crewe next week after being denied a first away win of the Sky Bet League Two season following a 1-1 draw at Newport.
Sampson’s side were gifted the lead after 12 minutes after Josh Sheehan dallied on the ball deep in his own half before being robbed by Emmanuel Sonupe, who drove into the box before calmly side-footing the ball into the bottom corner.
As the clock ticked down into second-half injury time, Jamille Matt rose highest to head in George Nurse’s whipped cross to secure a point for the hosts.
“The overriding emotion is huge anger and frustration. We have to use it in a positive way and take it into our work all week,” said Sampson, whose side sit one point above bottom side Morecambe.
“We have to play with a real anger, intensity and with a knife between our teeth on Saturday.
“It’s a real tough one to take, when you concede with the last kick of the game, it’s a real tough blow.
“The work ethic, resilience and toughness of the players is all there, but we made a really bad decision in a really important moment and it cost us two points.
“We’re in touch with the other teams and we know – with the way we are playing – we can win games. There is no reason why we can’t string a few wins together.
“We have to take the positives forward and learn from our mistakes to make us a better team, we just have to be ready to unleash that emotion on Crewe.”
Newport ended a four-match league losing streak, but manager Michael Flynn believes they deserved more than just a point.
“We stopped the rot of losing in the league, the players showed they can keep going and we got the least we deserved,” he said. “We gave them a goal and we should have won the game.
“We’ve got so many injuries but the players have shown real resilience and a few of them played really well today.
“Taylor Maloney was very good as was Lewis Collins when he came on, he was positive with his touches.
“George Nurse put a great cross in for the goal and I don’t think Nick Townsend had a save to make in the second half.
“I’m confident we can come through this and kick on like we did last season once we get everyone back fit.
“Mickey (Demetriou) was excellent today in his first game for 17 weeks, it was a massive psychological thing for Mickey today, knowing his leg was solid.
“(Scot) Bennett came back in at half-time and was solid. Hopefully we’ll have (Joss) Labadie back next weekend for a tough trip to Morecambe.”