Steve Evans thought Stevenage should have been out of sight by half-time in their 1-0 win over Rochdale at the Lamex.
Captain Carl Piergianni’s back post header just before half-time was the difference, as the Hertfordshire team continued their unbeaten start to the new League Two season.
Danny Rose’s second-half header was ruled out for offside and Rochdale’s late surge could have seen them snatch their first point of the season.
But the Stevenage boss was pleased with the way his side dominated possession and territory, despite the nervy finish.
“If it was a boxing match the towel would have been in at half-time because it should have been four or five really. I don’t think they got in our box at all in the first half,” said Evans.
“We had so much dominance, so much superiority, so much better play. I think for 70 minutes they got a pasting tonight.
“[Toumani] Diagouraga used to play for me at Leeds and he said to me the first half was the best I’ve ever seen a team play against me. So that’s a big compliment because he’s a very honest guy.
“It would have been easier on everyone’s nerves if we’d scored three or four and we’re disappointed that we don’t do that.
“But I’m proud of the players. I’m really pleased for them all. There’s not a player in the whole squad that we’re not delighted with.”
For Rochdale boss Robbie Stockdale, there were some positives to take from the late pressure from from his side, even if the mood in the dressing room post-match was a sombre one, as the players come to terms with the reality of zero points after four games.
“The players are hurting,” said Stockdale. “We all are. I understand frustrations, of course I do. We’re very early into the season and I genuinely think we should be sat on a few points, but we’re not, so I get it.”
“But I actually came away from some parts of today thinking, yeah, that was the style of play. There was an identity to us. So there are a lot of positives. I know it doesn’t look like it now, but there are.
“The biggest thing for the players is that they’ve got to believe in themselves and I’ll make sure that I put that belief into them as well because for the majority of the game against Grimsby and the second-half tonight we were alright.
“We looked quite threatening. We had a braver approach on the ball. We accepted the ball in tighter areas and we moved the ball nice and quickly.
“I think we got sucked into Stevenage’s style of play a little in the first half.”
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