Captain’s show from Saul
Half-time talk does the business for Town
HARPENDEN Town boss Ryan Thompson paid tribute to the job captain Andy Saul did at half time at Bedford on Saturday.
Town made a good start to proceedings and took a ninth minute lead when Matt Day headed home Aaron Clarke’s cross but that was as good as it got for Town in the opening 45 minutes as they took their foot off the gas and were dominated by Bedford who grabbed an equaliser through John Vooght.
Thompson said he couldn’t put into words how bad his team performed in the first half but Saul took centre stage in the dressing room and dished out a few home truths much to the delight of Thompson.
“We went 1-0 up with a bullet header from Matt day but then we stopped playing,” explained Thompson.
“We were awful; I can’t describe how bad we were. We got back into the changing rooms and we left them for five minutes. Fair play to Andy Saul, he let them have it. He told them a few home truths and said how embarrassed he was by the performance. It was a real captain’s showing.”
Saul’s words appeared to have had little impact as Chris Boniface put Bedford ahead five minutes after the resumption.
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Thompson utilised his subs bench introducing Ricky Tahon in midfield and switching to a 4-4-2 formation and that coupled with the introduction of Tony Golder and youngster Jack Woods began to pay dividends.
“The change of shape helped and we started to pass the ball around,” said the Town boss.
“We bought on Jack Woods for the last 30 minutes. He is a young lad who has signed on for us and although he needs to fill out a bit he is a good player.
“We also got Tony Golder on at the back and he started to get the ball down and play it out from the back.”
Youngster Woods had an immediate impact latching on to Tahon’s through ball before beating two men. Although the new signing’s effort beat the goalkeeper it appeared a covering defender would be on hand to clear but Clarke nipped in to draw Town level.
Woods threatened again with another run at the Bedford defence but his luck was out as his shot came back off the upright.
It appeared both sides would have to settle for a point but then with seven minutes remaining Ant Burns hit the winner.
A long ball forward was cleared as far as the Town midfielder well outside the box and his well struck volley flew into the top corner to give Town all three points.
“We were happy to come away with the win,” said Thompson.
“I was very pleased with the result but not the performance. Some of the lads were complaining about the pitch being bobbly but it’s the same for both sides and they need to stop making excuses and listen to their captain. Andy Saul was a massive plus for us in the changing room.”
Thompson was also pleased with the impact his substitutes had in changing the game in Town’s favour.
“Sometimes subs come on and they don’t do the business,” he said, “but these boys come on and did the job.”
Town have three games left before they can head off on their summer holidays and Thompson says he’ll be pleased to have a break.
“We’re struggling at the moment player-wise,” he added.
“We’ve got a few players who are injured and a few who are away and with our small squad it’s difficult but it was good to get another three points and there is just three games left before we can go and have a well earned rest.”