MATCH PREVIEW: Good performances will be rewarded says Henderson Tavistock boss wants consistency ahead of Cinderford trip
PLAY well and you will keep the shirt. That’s the message to his players from Tavistock manager Stuart Henderson as the Lambs look to jump into the Southern League Division One South play-off places by winning at Cinderford Town on Tuesday night.
Tavi’s form has been inconsistent of late, to say the least, which perhaps explains why Henderson has made changes to his team from game to game. Player performances have also been up and down yet, despite a record of 11 wins, only two draws and ten defeats in the league, the Lambs sit just two points outside the play-off places in seventh.
It goes to show just how tight the division is but, after a 3-1 win at home to Lymington on Saturday, Henderson is unlikely to make changes to his starting XI, unless he has to.
“A lot of players have been with me a long time – not all of them – but a lot are used to starting games. I keep saying it, but we have gone up a considerable level and all it takes is for one or two players to be off it and we won’t get a result,” he said.
“I felt there was a lot more energy in the team on Saturday, the work–rate was very good and I thought Warren Daw coming into the team was excellent and Adam Macpherson gave us good energy as well, so I felt there was more personality in our performance where we looked hungry and we were working hard off the ball to win it back quickly.
“It’s a good squad and perhaps, when we have been in other leagues, we had a couple of youngsters on the bench that perhaps knew they were fringe players. Now, we have 16 or 17 lads that all expect to play and the shirt will be given to those that perform, it’s as simple as that.
“While some players may not like that, what you often find is that competition for places will give better performances, which ultimately benefits the team.
“It’s been tough and obviously Josh and Cal (Josh Robins and Callum Watson) both decided to go, they have been with us a long time and who knows, the squad may change again. But my job is to get the best team I can and the best results I can with the resources I am given.”
The old adage is to never change a winning team, so is that something Henderson will adhere to? “I don’t think there will be too many changes – if any at all,” he said. “But if I feel, within that performance, there are players who could have done better, I wouldn’t be afraid to change it. But on the whole, I was pleased with Saturday’s performance.”
Henderson wanted a good start from his side against Lymington, but even he couldn’t have been happier with the opening seven minutes which saw two goals and a visiting defender sent off after bringing down Liam Prynn inside the box with less than 60 seconds on the clock.
“We came out of the block flying after making a few changes to the starting line-up and Prynny went through early doors, knocked the ball past the goalie and their centre half has wiped everything out, so the ref had no option but to give a penalty and a straight red,” he said.
“We played really well for 20-25 minutes and could easily have been 4-0 up, but then we have lost the ball in possession and they have broken and scored. It’s then a difficult scoreline, but we just told the lads if we ended up winning 2-1, we’d be more than happy. We kept the ball really well in the second half and I don’t remember them creating too much apart from the odd breakaway.
“We didn’t overcommit men forward in risk of getting done on the transition and then a moment arose late on which Adam finished, so a job well done.”