OMAGH Accies head coach Phil Marshall is hoping his team have learned an important lesson after last weekend’s disappointing six point reverse at Bruff.
Having watched his charges receive four yellow cards and one red, Marshall is demanding his side respond in style at home against a struggling Seapoint outfit, who have won just once so far this season.
Last Saturday, Adam Longwell received two yellow cards, resulting in his dismissal, while Ricky Hemphill and Jonny Sproule were also sent to the bin by referee, Barry Moloney.
And while bemused by the official’s performance, Marshall was also left frustrated by his players.
“We lost and we’ll deal with it, but what we have to do is learn how to take referees out of the game,” he observed.We have to learn how to manage referees and we’re not good at it, so that’s something we’ll have to talk about because other teams are better at manipulating referees than my guys are. At the end of the day, it’s up to us to deal with it and manage it. We didn’t and we lost the game because of it.”
Having picked up a losing bonus point in Bruff, the Accies remain fourth in the table, level on points with fifth-placed Bangor, who they will play three times over five weeks from December 15 to January 19, so Marshall knows points are vital over the next month.
However, he also knows that while Seapoint are languishing towards the bottom of the table,today’s home clash is certainly not a foregone conclusion.
“The thing about this league, you never know who is going to beat who,” he warned.
“But the bottom line is, I need a response, the players need a response more than anything. They need to park the pain in their heads and make sure it doesn’t happen the next Saturday.
“We have to win against Seapoint and we have to get something from Bangor the next Saturday before we enter the AIL Christmas break.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re facing the top team or the bottom team, you’re going to get a hard 80 minute battle and sometimes it’s harder to play against a team who is fighting for their lives because they aren’t going to give you and inch.
“They’ll be coming up here knowing they have to kick-start their season somewhere otherwise they are in deep trouble. They are off bottom by way of points difference so the least they want will be a losing bonus point, the same as when we go anywhere.
“We’ll talk about being patient and disciplined, which is something we were very good at until Saturday,” he concluded.
The Accies will be without Longwell against Seapoint as he serves his one week ban after that dismissal against Bruff – his suspension was initially two weeks, but halved due to his previous lack of disciplinary issues.
On a more positive note, Alistair Beckett could make his return to action for the seconds against Malone today, as he edges closer to match sharpness following a facial injury.
Today’s kick-off is 2.30pm.