sport

Westley calls for self-belief

Graham Westley insists continued self-belief is needed if Stevenage are to build on their 1-0 win over Hartlepool and gain promotion.

New-signing Chris Whelpdale netted the only goal of the game on the hour as Boro, who finished bottom of League One last season, began the new season with all three points.

Whelpdale, signed on a free from Gillingham over the summer, cracked home a low volley from 20 yards to beat Hartlepool 'keeper Scott Flinders, who had made three fine saves before conceding.

And boss Westley insists the key to Stevenage guaranteeing an immediate return to League One is the players believing in themselves and the methods he is trying to put across.

"I said to them that I have won a championship with five wins and five clean sheets at the start of the season and the same with three draws, so you get there one way or another," said Westley.

"It's great to get that opening day win and the points on the board. We had a bit of a flat start and had moments when our players were on the new stage and finding their feet.

"It was really pleasing how we didn't lose our belief and kept going, which is what we spoke about at half-time after missing a few chances - games aren't won on chances, they're won on goals.

"We had to keep our patience and self belief and, provided we kept our shape and belief in the second half and played with a little bit more composure, we knew the chances would come."

Meanwhile Hartlepool boss Colin Cooper admitted 'keeper Flinders was called upon far too much for them to get anything from the season opener at Broadhall Way.

Flinders denied Charlie Lee, Tom Pett and Adam Marriott before being beaten by Whelpdale and Cooper said: "We relied on our goalkeeper too much to keep us in the game.

"He made saves and we didn't protect him enough when he was beaten. We had an honest discussion after the game.

"There will be ebbs and flows in a game and we have enough experience on the pitch now, with our new signings especially, to get everyone through.

"On the back of what we did we started to look lively again with the introduction of the substitutes, who gave us energy.

"We will be alright this season - don't worry about that. If we were good enough to come away with something we would have.

"We had to stand up to what Stevenage did and we did that at times. We have enough to compete and then we have to try and get it down and play it like we can do."