Stevenage manager Steve Evans admitted he wanted to kiss Carl Piergianni after his captain’s vital goal helped to see off Wigan in a five-goal Sky Bet League One thriller.
The Latics had twice led through Josh Magennis (penalty) and Thelo Aasgaard, and held a 2-1 interval advantage.
But after Jamie Reid had found the first equaliser, Piergianni was on hand to head home midway through the second period to make it 2-2, before substitute Louis Thompson secured all three points in the last 10 minutes.
“The performance had to be great to win here, particularly as we have two big individual errors for their goal,” said Evans.
“What we said at half-time was we’re not going to change anything, we were in the game, and we would be sitting 1-0 up had we not done the individual errors.
“But the honesty and integrity we have in the dressing room, both lads walked in with their hands up and apologising to me and the staff and the group – which they didn’t need to do.
“In the second half, we fought our way back in and we dominated for long spells.
“They’re always threatening on the counter attack, but our ‘captain fantastic’ comes up with another brilliant header.
“He’s a man that…yes, I would kiss him! And he knows what I think of him.
“All the changes we made were to win the game, and I know a lot of clubs in that position would be trying to hang on to a point.
“But you’re always better trying to win a game and be prepared to lose it than not trying to win a football match.
“That’s why our supporters have travelled so far, to see us try to win a game, and that’s what we’ll always try to do.”
For Wigan boss Shaun Maloney, it was a frustrating afternoon as his side were unable to cope with Stevenage’s tactics.
“We didn’t defend our box anywhere near enough from the long balls and the set-plays, we struggled in both of those areas,” he said.
“Yeah it’s tough…it’s never nice to lose, and never nice to lose at home. It’s very disappointing.
“Stevenage are brilliant at what they do, they’re extremely competitive on and off the pitch, and I really respect what they do.
“We’ve had games this season when we’ve had 30 per cent possession and we’ve had to dig in, so I have no issue with the way Stevenage play.
“We’re trying to do things very differently, but there’s more than one way to win a game of football.
“A lot of teams in this league find it very hard to play against them, so I can’t be too angry at my players.
“I asked the players to play under big pressure, to try to control the game, and we did for large parts.
“But in the most important part of the game, defending our own box, we didn’t get right, and that’s the reason we got beat.
“We just have to remember these types of games, for the rest of this season and beyond.
“Because these are the types of games you have to win if you’re to have any chance of doing something – and I know we’re not in that position yet – and fighting for the top six.”
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