Harpenden in a 'sticky patch' but O'Reilly confident they can turn it around

Harpenden Town assistant manager Steve O'Reilly says the team has the quality to reverse their stuttering form.

Harpenden Town assistant manager Steve O'Reilly says the team has the quality to reverse their stuttering form. - Credit: KARYN HADDON

Harpenden Town need to get back to basics if they are to haul themselves out of their "sticky patch" according to assistant manager Steve O'Reilly.

The 2-0 defeat at home to Hadley on Monday means they have tasted victory just once in the last six Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division games, a sequence that has seen them slip down to sixth in the table.

Connor Sansom (left) saved a fifth-minute penalty but couldn't prevent Hadley claiming a 2-0 win.

Connor Sansom (left) saved a fifth-minute penalty but couldn't prevent Hadley claiming a 2-0 win. - Credit: TOBY HOWE

They had trailed to a seventh-minute opener from Luke Alfano, two minutes after Connor Sansom had saved a penalty, but enjoyed a better second half and it was only after Harvey Scott was dismissed for a second yellow card on 75 minutes that Hadley grabbed a second through the league's top scorer Solomon Ofori.

And while Harps' assistant boss could have pointed to the lack of a game since December 11, he felt they hadn't produced a performance close to their best.

Dan Westmore in action for Harpenden Town against Hadley.

Dan Westmore in action for Harpenden Town against Hadley. - Credit: TOBY HOWE

O'Reilly said: "If you hadn’t seen the two teams before and you had to pick one that hadn’t played over the last few weeks, it would have been quite easy to spot. 

"We did look laboured, a bit leggy potentially, but at the end of the day our performance wasn’t anywhere close what it needed it to be. 

"They are a good side and they showed how you have to win games in this league. 

Most Read

"We’re going through a bit of a sticky patch and look a little bit disjointed but I was pleased with the second half up until the red card which killed the game. 

"There are some good things to take from it but fundamentally we are not doing the right things enough at the moment to win games of football." 

Connor Deadman in action for Harpenden Town against Hadley.

Connor Deadman in action for Harpenden Town against Hadley. - Credit: TOBY HOWE

The cohesion in the group is where O'Reilly wants the focus to be as they look to bed in the new players quickly.

And they will get plenty of chances to do just that with the Hadley match the first of six successive home games in January.

He said: "A lot has changed in the last month or so. 

We have brought bodies in, and it is fortunate we have because we are struggling for numbers at the moment, but we have lost a little bit of the rhythm and the familiarity we had in the group. 

"That will take time to build up again. 

"We just have to get back to work and get back to the basics.

"It is a busy January and it is a test of what we have as a group but when I was a player, I loved playing week in, week out and there are plenty of games to come. 

"There is not too long to spend licking our wounds. 

"There is a maybe a bit of a confidence issue as well and maybe we need a bit of luck to go and get a result. 

"I’m sure we’ll turn it around though."

The first of those home games comes on Saturday when Harefield United visit Rothamsted Park.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter