Date: 21st October 2015 at 7:26pm
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Assistant manager Kevin Watson and new signing Michael Tonge have spoken about the battling point against Portsmouth in last night’s game.

Taking over media press conference duties from Teddy Sheringham for a change, Watson told the Official Site that with our last minute equaliser in the game it proved that Stevenage are now developing a steely side to their game and that should serve us well going into the remainder of the season after a choppy start to life under the new gaffer.

‘Even at 1-0 I thought we were terrific all night. We kept our shape well; we defended really well, limited a very good team to very few chances – the boys defended excellently as a team. You always felt that we were going to get another chance in the game. I think it was thoroughly deserved on the basis of the way we played all night.’

With Tonge making his first appearance for us following his arrival, he picked up the man of the match award for his debut showing and Watson was full of praise for him.

‘Michael Tonge was brilliant, he was excellent tonight. As debuts go, when someone hasn’t played properly – he has not had a club since the start of the season so you are probably going back to March, April since the last time he played a game – he was superb. He has obviously played at a higher level; he is getting on a bit now but his knowledge of the game, knowing when to go, knowing when to sit, knowing when to pass, knowing when to take a touch was first class.’

With it now being three unbeaten, Watson said the side were now showing the confidence needed to get results in this league and slowly but surely it was coming together for us.

‘It is a never say die attitude – I think early on in the season we were questioned about once we conceded, going under and we were letting in too many goals, absolutely no two ways about that but now we are showing a steely side. That is more like it, that is the way we are looking to play. It is three very good results now and we have got to build on that. The boys are all together, everyone`s in it together, we have a great group, a great bunch and we are moving forward now.’

As for Tonge himself, in his own interview after his debut he explained that it couldn’t have gone much better for him all things considered.

‘It was a tough game against a very good team, we knew obviously that they were going to have quite a lot of the ball but the gaffer set us up really well with the formation we played and I thought we played very well. I always felt like we were in the game, even when we went 1-0 down I still sort of sensed. The gaffers message from the side was ‘stay in the game – we`ll get a chance`. Even if it comes in the 94th minute or whenever it was, they all count and obviously the lads are buzzing in the changing room which is great.’

With his last competitive game coming seven months ago, Tonge was pretty happy to last the full 90 minutes and put in the showing he did, but obviously there were some aches and pains at full time, but that will ease with more training and games under his belt.

‘I think it was probably March, it has probably been a good six months. I have been obviously been trying to keep myself fit at Bolton but I have not played a proper 11 a-side-in ages so until you get your second wind you are blowing a little bit! To be honest once the second half started I felt alright and it was only with about five minutes to go, my calves, obviously you are going to feel it a little bit. It was a great performance and just really enjoyed being back playing football. Tomorrow might be a bit achy but it was worth it to get the point.’

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