Heanor ‘second best’ in FA Vase exit to Holbrook

Glen Clarence
Glen Clarence

Heanor Town manager Glen Clarence said his side were “second best” as they were dumped out of the FA Vase by Holbrook Sports on Saturday.

The Lions went down 2-0 to their East Midlands Counties Football League Premier Division opponents, who were reduced to 10-men in the 55th-minute.

But, despite their numerical advantage, Heanor were unable to find a way through and it was the Brookies who struck twice to advance to the second qualifying round.

Boss Clarence was naturally disappointed after the defeat.

“It was an embarrassing defeat and an embarrassing performance, so overall embarrassed,” he said.

“I’m the manager so I pick the team and prepare the team so I’ll take the can for that.

“The team that wanted it the most won the game.

“Did that surprise us? No. Our team talk was we’ve got to want it as much as them, then our talent shines through.

“We don’t know this group with regards to being with them for a long time but what we’ve seen to date, through pre-season and the first seven games of the season - we had a chance of going top of the table last week, that is not what I expect from us.

“We’ve got a group now that works hard. Gives good habits and doesn’t take risks. They want to prove they’re good enough for this level and will run through brick walls to do that.

“Having said all those things, we got completely the opposite of that today. Holbrook did it and that’s why they’re in the next round of FA Vase and we’re not.

“I never thought I’d need to say this but our lads thought they were better than they were and didn’t put a shift in, especially in the first half. We weren’t good enough with the ball second half. The better side is through to the next round of the Vase.”

And added: “There was a decent crowd in today. I asked for a decent crowd and they came. I can only apologise for everyone in that dressing room. We were second best today.”

The red card shown was to left-back Evan Cawley who was dismissed for a late challenge on Dominic Wilkinson.

Seb Szondi nodded in Holbrook’s first on 72 minutes and Josh Williams rose highest to head in number two on 84 minutes.

“The first goal and probably 10 minutes before that came from us making poor decisions at the back,” said assistant manager Steve Hamilton.

“For some reason, unbeknown to anyone but the individuals concerned, we stopped heading the ball.

“We allowed the ball to bounce, facing our own goal, and we’re in a spot of bother because they were keen and eager throughout.

“That was where the rot started to go in for me. Decisions at the back. I think we showed some naïvety up the field.

“When the first goal went in I thought that naïvety turned into ‘well, I’m going to try a lot harder but in trying harder I’m not making the right decisions’.

“Really it needed someone to grab hold of the game and we should have like we said to them play two-touch and get the ball out wide and keep switching it. It didn’t happen.

“It was an individual game and started to look child-like at times. I don’t want to be harsh on the lads because they’re absolutely gutted but well done to Holbrook. I think the sending off galvanised them.

“They still broke out from a midfield to play two or three up front. It’s how we conceded the goals that disappointed me, they’re two soft goals to concede.”

And added: “The lads have to learn very very quickly. Glen says he takes the can today but those XI players have got to take their fair proportion of that can.”