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Club News

MANAGER: Delighted for everybody

More from Paul Simpson on the Saturday win

12 March 2023

Club News

MANAGER: Delighted for everybody

More from Paul Simpson on the Saturday win

12 March 2023

As expected, Saturday afternoon’s away game at Swindon was a tough one, with both teams going toe-to-toe and scrapping for every ball, but just as it appeared that it was ending all-square the Blues raised the rafters at the visiting end of the Arkells Stand with a winner grabbed from a set piece deep into time added on.

Match Reports


11 March 2023

The celebrations were what the game is all about, with over 550 members of the Blue Army there to witness what was a hugely important victory.

Speaking about the way the team dug in and dug it out, manager Paul Simpson said: “Credit to the lads because they showed character, desire, personality, all of those things, because that was a tough game.

“Swindon are a really good side and, to be honest, I thought that about them before the game. From what we’d seen they were a team that likes to play football and they have a really difficult shape to play against.

“The movement from Austin and Hepburn-Murphy and Williams caused us problems. We stuck at it and the reward was the delivery that was met by Ryan Edmondson at the end.

“To be honest, that’s why I put him on. I felt he could provide a bit of an aerial threat against their three centre backs, or their two centre backs when they changed it to a back four, and I’m delighted for the lads that they got their win.

“I’m delighted for the supporters who made their way here because that’s a nice scene when you see the players all sliding in their knees in front of the fans. That type of thing is what we’re in this business for, isn’t it.”

“We knew there was only 30 seconds left when we got the corner so it was a case of making sure the delivery was right,” he continued. “We had a chance before when Mox put it on the roof of the net, so he kept his composure with his delivery and Edmo was there to get the header and get it on target.

“I’m just delighted and I think this is the first time we’ve done this, where we’ve scored a winner as late in the game as that. If you’re going to get anything, if you’re going to have any success, you have to have some games like that. That’s how it turned out.”

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One of the building blocks of the win was a fantastic finish from Jack Armer, his second of the season, on his weaker right foot, no less.

“What a finish,” the gaffer told us. “When it came out to him I thought he was stretching too far and too much, and I actually thought the first one was over the line from Charlie Austin.

“I know people will say I’m biased but it looks as if it could be over the line from the set play. But it went to Jack, and he kept his composure so well. He stayed calm, on the inside of his right foot, and what a wonderful finish. Again, brilliant celebrations in front of the fans and we all enjoyed it.

“When I’m asking him to chip in more a few weeks ago I didn’t expect it with his right foot and a half volley from the edge of the box. And he nearly got a second when the ball flashed across the box between him and Joe Garner.

“I’m just delighted for everybody, Ryan Edmondson getting a winning goal, he’s worked really hard to get himself fit again and to come back in, I just decided it was the game for him rather than Kristian Dennis to go up top today, I felt Edmo would cause a problem aerially and thankfully that was the way it worked out with him getting the winning goal.”

But Swindon looked to have rescued a point when they levelled it up with just 10 minutes left to go.

“I was trying to get information onto the pitch to try to change the shape because we were getting sucked back too deep,” he explained. “I was looking at how and what to do, and I wanted to try to go to a four in midfield, with Omari on one side and Gibbo on the other.

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“I couldn’t get the message on to them so that we were able to do that, and unfortunately that’s where we conceded the goal.

“I have to be a little bit better in doing that and be more decisive when it comes to making those changes, because we conceded as a result of me not making that change. That happened, but thankfully we showed the character to keep going.”

It was a great example of a League Two with a lot riding on it as the teams scrapped for the right to dominate.

“The first half was tight, and we had to just get through to half time,” the boss commented. “I thought we were fine in the first half even though we didn’t have control of the game.

“When we did string two or three passes together I thought we looked ok. We didn’t quite find the right pass, and I thought there were times when we could have got our shots off better or quicker.

“We had too many extra touches and I thought they pressed really well, so we talked during the break about not taking three touches and to start doing it in one and two.

“I wanted the decisions to be better in the final third, and maybe that didn’t happen for us as much as we would have liked, but it’s a huge win. At this stage of the season it’s about finding a way and that’s what we did today.

“I thought we handled much of it really well. Like I say, they had Austin and Williams who kept going high then dropping in and trying to drag centre backs out, to expose us a bit with Hepburn-Murphy to get through the middle. 

“But I thought Jon Mellish played a proper centre half’s role, in a game where they purposely set about trying to wind him up and get him booked, or even sent off. But he kept his head, kept a real discipline about him.

“He played as a centre back instead of a marauding one which he normally does, and he dealt with a lot of the threats of Hepburn-Murphy.” 

What isn’t in doubt is that it was a great way to win a game.

“It’s big, big result, we’re into the business end of the season, this is where it really matters now,” he agreed. “We’ve given ourselves an unbelievable fighting chance, put ourselves in a good position, and the players have that desire to want to keep it going.

“We’ve stuck at it when we probably weren’t at our best, we’ve kept going and we’ve shown a bit of character at the end. We’ve worked hard, we pressed high to force a mistake and we then got the delivery we needed, and I’m so pleased for Ryan Edmondson that he got on the end of it and found a way past the goalkeeper.

“I think when we pressed them we won that corner, and I knew the fourth official was saying to the ref there’s only 30 seconds left, so you’re thinking go on then, this would be a nice time to go and nick a winner.

“Get the delivery right, get people on the end of it, because we have got some threats, people who will get on the end of it. We possibly could have got others, Hunts had a chance, I don’t know if he headed it onto a defender’s head or he got the flick first.

“We had Morgan’s first half chance when there were three lining up to head it. We knew we could get opportunities. It’s nice when it happens with 20 seconds to go as well. 

“And let’s be honest, I don’t care who we get the results against, we just have to find ways to win games and we’ve done that over the season.

“I might be wrong, but I don’t think we’ve had many last minute or last second goals like we had here. To achieve anything you have to get a few results like that.”

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