Young Lambs are ‘learning on the job’ says Henderson Naivety costs Tavistock in defeat to Bristol Manor Farm

TAVISTOCK manager Stuart Henderson feels his players need to be more streetwise as they slipped to a third straight defeat at home to Bristol Manor Farm on Wednesday night.

After falling behind to an Owen Howe wonder goal on eight minutes, Liam Prynn levelled things up from the penalty spot after a controversial handball. The spot kick was awarded when Joe O’Connor’s free kick struck the Farm wall, much to the annoyance of visiting manager, Lee Lashenko, who received a yellow card for his protests.

Despite starting the second half well, Tavi fell behind with Howe’s second wondergoal – a stunning strike into the top corner form 30 yards – and two minutes later, naive defending led to Evander Grubb running through on goal to notch the third.

Heads dropped after that as Tavi toiled but rarely looked like getting back into the game with Henderson feeling his side did OK, but their play in both penalty boxes cost them.

“It’s disappointing but we are at a level where these things can happen,” he said. “We probably created more chances than them over the course of a game, but they had Owen Howe who has played in the leagues above, gets paid very well and he’s literally had two half chances and converted them both. How many chances have we had and not scored from open play?

“In the past, we have probably play free-flowing, attacking football because we were better than a lot of the teams, but I think we are coming up against teams that are happy to sit in and make it very difficult for you to break them down and they can win a game by taking the odd opportunity or playing for a set play – something like that.

“We are learning on the job and it is a tough league. The educated supporter will understand that we are playing at a level where the infrastructure of clubs is where we are aspiring to be, so we just have to be competitive on the pitch and sacrifice attacking play just to be more solid and concede that we won’t get as many chances, just to make sure we have players behind the ball. A lot of goals we have conceded this season have been on the transition.

“As a group, we need to keep working and find a way. Other teams have come up from the leagues and are below us in the table, so we will keep battling on and try and find a system and a shape that works best for us. Fans want us to be offensive and attacking, but that makes you easier and more liable to be picked off – it’s finding that balance between the two.

“The boys are learning on the job. Some of these players have jumped up three or four leagues now to play at this standard. We are learning on the pitch and learning as a club; this is an unforgiving league, the standard is very high and maybe we need to go more against our philosophy and how we like to play just to grind out points.

“I think there is a balancing act between being solid and resolute, not giving much away and then picking your moments when you can be expansive.”

The Lambs return to action on Saturday when we welcome Lymington Town to Langsford Park.