McCann praises Hendon's second-half display in final-day defeat at Bognor Regis Town
PUBLISHED: 15:50 27 April 2016
Hendon manager Gary McCann praised his side's battling qualities and resilience, despite seeing them fall to a 4-0 thumping at second-placed Bognor Regis Town on the final day of the league season.
Goals from Jason Prior (2), Alfie Rutherford and Connor Tighe saw the hosts come up with a comfortable victory, as they head into the play-offs with plenty of momentum.
The result meant the Greens finished 19th in the Ryman League Premier after a troubled campaign, but McCann praised his team’s efforts, in particular a much improved second-half performance.
He said: “It was extremely tough for us against a very good team with everything still to play for.
“I think it was a game too far for us after the effort we had put in the previous week. Three games in five days was too much for quite a few of the players, and the injury to Casey [Maclaren] proved that.
“We had so many players unavailable, through work or injuries, that we had only 14 available – neither Finbarr Robins nor Tony Taggart (who ran the London Marathon the next day) would have been used except in the direst of emergencies – and with Ben Pattie being ill, Scott Cousins was the third substitute after 18-year-old Brandon Adams and 16-year-old Nyv Bogaire.
“Sam Flegg, Omar Vassell and Adam Wallace all had work commitments, and as well as Pattie’s illness, Robins and Oliver Achille were both nursing injuries enough for them not to be available. Given the choice, I would have rested both Chris Seeby and Maclaren.
“I must give huge credit to the squad for the way they stood up to Bognor in the second half. When we went in at half-time trailing 3-0 I told the players we could be looking at a big defeat, but they showed great heart, pride and resilience in going toe-to-toe with them in the second half and only conceded in the last minute.”
After so nearly securing promotion to the National League South last season via the play-offs, the Greens’ fortunes have been altogether different this season, with McCann pinpointing that downturn to one area in particular.
He added: “Our defensive frailties, which have been our downfall so often this season, showed up again in the first half.
“All three goals were preventable on our part. We also had a really good chance of getting an equaliser at 1-0 down. Who knows how the game would have gone, if we had got back on level terms?
“We now have over a week to prepare for the London Senior Cup final [against Tooting & Mitcham United]. I hope to have a number of players back for the game. “If we can retain the trophy we won last season, it will be a fantastic end to this season.”