TAVISTOCK boss Stuart Henderson was left frustrated by a poor start by his side, but praised their character as they came back to earn a much-deserved 1-1 draw at big-spending Bridgwater United in the Toolstation Western League Premier Division.
The Lambs paid the price for their poor start to the game when Jordan Greenwood bundled the ball in on 22 minutes to give Bridgwater a deserved lead. Tavi improved after that and should have equalised when Jake Miller latched onto Josh Grant’s clever flick, but he fired tamely at the goalkeeper.
After some strong words at half-time, Tavi were much improved after the break, but it was only after the double introduction of Dan Koita and Luke Brown that the game really swung in Tavi’s favour. Koita levelled with a beautiful curling shot into the far corner after beating the offside trap but, despite plenty if late pressure, the Lambs could not get the winning goal they perhaps deserved.
It was 18-year-old Koita’s first goal for the Lambs since his recent arrival from Crediton United and Henderson hailed his contribution after the game.
“I was happy with the second half, we started it quite brightly and made some changes on about 60-65 and they were big changes really, bringing two key players off in Jake and Granty,” Henderson said.
“I just wanted to change a few things and I thought the two subs that came on both did well, Dan Koita got the goal and Luke was prepared to be brave, put his foot on the ball and make things happen.
“We have hit the bar twice since then and I think it’s fair to say that Bridgwater were holding on at the end.”
Henderson added: “We just seemed to take ages to get going and it was a bit of nothing in the first half. But second half, I was really pleased.”
The introduction of both players certainly had an impact and their performances have certainly given Henderson food for thought ahead of a huge match this coming Friday night against Exmouth Town at Langsford Park (7.45pm).
“Without a doubt, Dan will be starting the next game,” Henderson said. “He’s come on, he’s a confident lad and has a bit of a swagger about him.
“Prynny and Granty have scored a lot of goals (Prynn 17 and Grant 12) but when he comes on and scores a goal like that and been so influential – he’s going to be a real player for us.
“With no disrespect to Bridport, but we were expected to go and score goals against bottom of the league, but there were nearly 600 people here tonight, the pitch was really, really heavy, we were up against it and for a lad to do that shows a lot about his character. I like him.”
The one downside to the night was another poor start to the game, which followed last week at Bridport, where the game was goalless at the interval. Henderson added: “I just wanted them to be brave.
“Listen, we are going to lose games – we all lose games from time to time – but it’s the manner. They scored from a free kick in the first half that we gave away cheaply, but they didn’t create much else, but neither did we.
“Jake Miller had a chance I felt he should have done better with but I thought we looked lacklustre, lethargic and not ourselves. But second half, I was really pleased.”