“We got nothing tonight” – Henderson critical of officials after scoreless draw

AUTHOR: @Kieran_B_Sport/@BetweenStripes

Having proudly held the title of Cobh Ramblers manager on two separate occasions, it was a big night for new Longford Town boss Stephen Henderson as he went in search of his first win as manager of the Midlands club with none other than Cobh Ramblers the visitors to Bishopsgate on a chilly Saturday night. Sadly for the 844 fans in attendance, there were no goals to warm them on the night as a rather forgettable scoreless draw was played out.

However, for Henderson, back-to-back draws against title favourites Waterford and a Cobh side who had won their first two matches shows huge strides have been made since Longford’s humiliating derby day defeat to Midland rivals Athlone on the opening day.

“It’s night and day from Athlone, if that was us three weeks ago we were getting done five or six here to be honest with you, there was just brilliant structure”, Henderson told BetweenTheStripes.net.

Despite being pleased with his team’s improved defensive displays in recent weeks, Henderson did feel as if Longford had passed up a great opportunity to earn their first three points of the new season against Cobh on Saturday night.

“On the balance of play, it was two points that got away, we tried to play our way up the pitch and we created some good chances and yeah, it is two points lost.”

Going back to his team’s defensive organisation, Longford Town did extremely well to keep Cobh’s two big winter signings Jack Doherty and Wilson Waweru quiet on the night and Henderson feels the decision to instate a new club captain has had a big impact in recent weeks with full-back Shane Eloworthy taking up the armband following Sam Verdon’s departure after the Athlone defeat.

“If you leave Jack (Doherty) one versus one or if he’s allowed to pick his head up he’ll find a pass anywhere and they’ve (Cobh) got some big boys in the box so it was really important we stopped him getting crosses or slide rule passes in.”

“It’s no coincidence we haven’t lost since Elworthy was made captain because he’s got that personality players want to play for and trust and managers like me absolutely adore.”

Despite keeping Doherty’s involvement in the game limited throughout, the former Longford Town midfielder almost came back to haunt his old side once again as his injury-time free-kick was headed home by substitute Callum Stringer only for the linesman’s flag to bring a premature end to the Cobh celebrations. While that decision went Longford’s way, Henderson was not impressed with referee Marc Lynch’s display with the ex-Ramblers boss booked for apparently overstepping the mark during protestations in the second-half.

“We got nothing tonight, nothing, Mo (Boudiaf) had his legs taken out from underneath him and he (the referee) played on and when I had a rant about it to myself I looked across and himself and the Cobh Ramblers midfielder were having a laugh at me which was disgusting but it kind of symbolised what was happening in that game tonight.”

“They (Cobh) were allowed to come through Jamal (Ibrahim), they were allowed to batter us all night no hassle, yeah play on, as soon as we tried something like that, whistle, so when that ball went into the box and they scored even though he was offside I kind of thought will he give it, I mean it was that kind of night for us but in fairness to the lino he got the flag up.”

“They (Cobh) didn’t deserve to win that tonight, simple as, so I was delighted it was disallowed.”

Longford Town will travel to the Carlisle Grounds next for a clash with Bray Wanderers. The small handful of Town players that still remain from last season’s squad will have positive memories of the Wicklow venue having claimed two away wins there last season. While the game against Cobh was far from a classic, Henderson feels the style of football Bray are playing under Ian Ryan combined with the quality of the playing surface at the Carlisle should lead to an entertaining encounter.

“We’re building in confidence but so are Bray, it will be a really good game, Bray are one of these clubs that has invested, don’t forget Cobh have invested heavily in that football team, that’s the most Cobh Ramblers have ever paid on a football team and this is what they produce there tonight.”

“Bray have invested a lot into that team so we’re competing against these experienced players but in credit to Ian (Ryan) he has them playing a nice way of football, we’re looking forward to it because the Carlisle Grounds the pitch is gorgeous so we’ll be able to play but we can’t ever deviate from our defensive principles because that’s our foundation to go and beat teams so we can’t go up there and try to outplay teams we need to come from a really solid structure and as you seen tonight we’re getting there”, Henderson concluded.

To hear the full interview with Stephen Henderson, visit the Between the Stripes Members Club, here.

Further reading