Henderson demands the team give a performance By going back to basics as a reaction to last week's disappointing result

TAVISTOCK manager Stuart Henderson is demanding a performance from his players as they look to bounce back from last week’s hammering at AFC Totton when they welcome Larkhall Athletic to Langsford Park on Saturday (3pm).  

The Lambs were one of the top two in-form teams in the division ahead of last week’s clash, with Totton the other, but Henderson felt his side never turned up as they were thrashed 6-1 in front of a crowd of over 1,300. 

Henderson was massively disappointed with the performance of his players and promised that there will be changes for Saturday’s clash with Larkhall. But he says a performance, and not necessarily the result, is what he wants against the struggling Larks. 

“Totton were very good and are the best side we have played so far,” Henderson said. “You have a club there that has got everything in place – the fanbase, the budget, the players – many of whom have played in the Football League – and a manager on a five-year contract. It’s night and day compared to where we are.” 

“On the day, they were far better than us and it could have been more. I was really disappointed with our lads; they were like shrinking violets and didn’t turn up. It was men against boys, and I was really disappointed. We were second by a country mile.” 

Prior to the game, Henderson had spoken of how his players relish the opportunity to play in such games and in front of big crowds, as they did when they won in such style at Frome just a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, Tavi were anything but a challenge for the rampant hosts. 

“We didn’t turn up,” he added. “We didn’t compete, we didn’t run enough, there was a lack of character, lack of fight, we didn’t win first balls, didn’t win second balls and were off the pace. We were way off it; it really ruined my weekend and there will be changes.”  

“I can accept losing and we are minnows compared to some of these clubs, but that wasn’t acceptable, and it could have been more than six. It was embarrassing. Totton are on a good run, but they aren’t scoring six every week. The players watched the VEO of the game on Wednesday and I understand you can have an off game with two or three players under-par. But I can only think of one or two that came out of that with any credit.” 

However, Tavi have not become a bad team overnight and while they have dropped to seventh in a heavily congested table, they do have games in hand on the teams around them. Larkhall are struggling and are just a point off the foot of the table with only three league wins in 17 games so far.  

“I spoke to my friends at Exmouth, and they said they were probably a bit fortunate to win up there last Saturday,” Henderson said. “There are no easy games, but if we are not on it, then we will get turned over – it’s as simple as that.” 

“Whether people have been getting carried away a bit because we have had a good run, I don’t know, but at any level of football you have to do the basics: work hard, win your individual battles, first balls and second balls. That’s a given and if you aren’t prepared to do that, then you’ll get unstuck, and I want a performance and a reaction on Saturday.”