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Westley: Squad Showed Nerve

5 September 2012

Manager Graham Westley praised his side's character after their 3-1 penalty shoot-out win over Carlisle United

“Age aside, he is a natural leader by the way he plays and he took people with him on a difficult night  and with all the change going on it was good to see a young man wear the captaincy so well.”

“Bailey [Wright] plays like a natural captain, I haven’t appointed a vice captain at the Club because there is enough leaders when John Mousinho isn’t in the side, you are spoilt for choice who to gve the armband too.

“They had pretty much their front line 11 starting and we were forced into a number of changes because of the recovery factor and under those circumstances it was a very difficult place to come, it was a terrific result for the boys to get.

“Carlisle treat the competition very seriously, as we do, but with the fixture 48 hours after we played a league game it was going to be even tougher for us. 

“He will get us 10-15 goals but when you haven’t found the back of the net in pre-season, you normally get one in the manner he did tonight as it came off the back of his heel.

“He isn’t prolific Beardo [Chris Beardsley] by any stretch, he leads the line in a strong way, he holds the ball up and he works the channels, he is a great team player.

“He has great ability and Akpo Sodje is in great goal scoring form and you would have expected for him to put it in but it was a terrific move and it could have easily won us the game.

He continued: “It was a terrific move, Jeffrey [Monakana] was on by that stage and he carried on where he has left off in previous games.

Speaking about key points in the game, the manager went on to discuss the move at the end which very nearly got his side the winner, the efforts of frontman Beardsley and the reason why he selected young defender Bailey Wright as captain.

“They did things in a positive way, they put themselves forward in the right way and there was a lot of good quality shown and in the end nerve got us through.

“It was nerve at the end what won it on penalties and it is good to see that they had the courage to take the penalties in the right way and win the game.

“The back four haven’t really spent a lot of time together, so it was going to be tough for the boys to find a way through but credit to the boys because they found a way to win. 

“We needed to get some freshness into the side but when you make that number of changes there is always going to be a concern to keep a performance together. 

“We made a lot of changes tonight; we had to make them because of Sunday’s game being just behind us we needed to make a lot of changes,” the 44-year-old told the press.

With Akpo Sodje hitting the bar in stoppage time, North End managed to come through the drama of a penalty shoot-out 3-1 to put their name in the hat for Saturday’s draw, and the manager praised the squad’s positive mentality. 

The Lilywhites lead for the majority of the game courtesy of Chris Bearsdley’s second minute opener, his first for the Club, however the visitors were pegged back midway through the second half through United midfielder John McGovern.

Manager Graham Westley told the local press after the game it was his side’s strong nerves that saw them overcome Carlisle United in the first round of the JPT.

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