Matt Longhurst Reacts to Hastings Defeat - "Ramsgate Aren't a Million Miles Away"

Matt Longhurst Reacts to Hastings Defeat -

13/01/2020

Ramsgate manager Matt Longhurst has reacted to Saturday’s 3-0 defeat away to league leaders Hastings United in the Isthmian League. 

“It’s always difficult to go to Hastings, especially when they are in that kind of form, but in terms of the performance I thought we were okay. We changed the formation a little bit and the players carried that out how I wanted.”

“The first goal we conceded was obviously a mistake from us at the back, but then we grew into the game.”

“Charlie [Burns] made a great save just before half-time and then another mistake in possession cost us a second goal before the break.”

“I have to say, at 1-0 down I felt we certainly should’ve had a penalty. Everybody in the ground could pretty much see that there was a push on Kane [Rowland] inside the box. That was obviously disappointing but these things can go against you sometimes. Swings and roundabouts.” 

“Performance wise, the players are still getting used to the way I want to play. The ideas are there and you can see that the lads are trying to carry it out. The work-rate is there and we have a good togetherness in the squad.” 

“First 15 minutes was a little bitty maybe but we’re away from home against the league leaders. If we come through that little spell without making the error for the goal, maybe it’s a different picture.”

“Over 90 minutes I was fairly pleased with the performance despite losing 3-0.” 

The first two goals conceded came from two individual errors, and the third was a controversial penalty decision. Could all three have been avoided?

“The keeper has called for them to just clear their lines but they’ve [Rob Saunders and Phil Starkey] got tangled up between themselves and Hastings just nicked the ball, had a great bit of link up play and scored with a decent finish.”

“For the second, Sam [Bangura] should probably play the ball forward but instead maybe tried to be safe and pass it back but it’s gone straight to Ben Pope and he has struck it into the top corner with a minute left of the half.”

"The penalty we conceded was very, very harsh. He’s obviously tried to cross the ball but instead fired it at Ollie’s [Gray] arm. His arms were by his side in a completely natural position so I think it was a harsh one.”

“So we find ourselves 3-0 down and they haven’t really had to play particularly well to score those goals.”

What must Ramsgate improve heading into future games? 

“Well first of all we need to cut out individual errors. Two against Hastings and then one that cost us last week against VCD Athletic.”

“I have given the players two different systems in two games and I can't fault their efforts. Even at 3-0 down the players were chasing up and down the pitch, so the desire is there.”

“Michael Turner hasn’t played much this season, neither has Phil Starkey recently. Bangura is getting used to the intensity having played with the U23’s all season, Ollie Gray has had a few injuries and hasn’t been able to get himself into a decent run of games, and so on.”

“In general we need to improve fitness levels but the longer we are together without interruptions, that will happen. We need to continue in the same vein in terms of work-rate which is a given anyway but it’s good to see them working hard for each other.”

“As long as the players are able to take on board the instructions, improve in the final third, make better choices and cut out errors, we’ll do well. We aren’t a million miles away.”

Rob Saunders was forced off in the 20th minute and Sam Bangura was substituted at half-time. Are there any injury concerns heading into Saturday’s match? 

“Rob had to come off with a hamstring injury. I’m not too sure how he will be because he came off before it actually went. It tightened right up and with the pace of the game, we felt it was best to bring him off to be safe.”

“Sam is fine, it was just a tactical change to bring him off for Nick Treadwell, so no issues there.” 

What type of reaction will you be looking for next Saturday when Ramsgate take on Burgess Hill? Some would deem that a very important fixture in the club’s season. 

“To be completely honest, I don’t necessarily think a ‘reaction’ as such is needed. We just need to cut out the silly mistakes and that goes for all of the players. We have to make better decisions across the pitch more often.”

“The players worked really hard and it’ll just be a case of working on the training ground to make sure we improve some aspects of our game.”

“We certainly haven’t gone to Hastings and been completely outplayed, out thought or tactically beaten. Realistically we matched them in all of those departments but ultimately they haven’t made the mistakes we’ve made.” 

“At the end of the day we just need to install some confidence into our play, pick up some points and alleviate the pressure off ourselves a little bit and now our attention is firmly on Burgess Hill on the weekend.”