Dave Webster: 'It is hard when teams have ten men behind the ball'

Mon, Aug 14 2017

The defender has helped his side return to winning ways after disappointing defeats to Bohemians and Derry City. Credit: Eoin Smith (ETPhotos)

Webster happy with Hoops overcoming tricky cup tie

 

As they made their first steps in what they hope will an end to their three decade long drought without an FAI Cup win, Shamrock Rovers went with three-at-the-back on Friday as they overcame non-league Glenville.

 

The 1-0 scoreline may on first impressions look like the Hoops struggled to get by the Leinster Senior League side but that wasn’t the case. Rovers dominated possession, won in excess of ten corners and their clean sheet never looked in doubt.

 

“Those games can kind of be tricky sometimes when teams come and sit in like that,” said Webster, speaking exclusively to extratime.ie after the final whistle in Tallaght Stadium.

 

“We had the chances to be four of five up but we are in the next round and that is all that matters.

 

“I enjoyed it,” said the defender about the change in defensive formation. “We hadn’t done too much work with it but it was good to experiment with it in this game and it went alright.

 

“It got the wing-backs up with Trevor (Clarke) and Simon (Madden). They are very attacking players and we overloaded them on the wings. Their two full backs were exhausted after 20 minutes with those lads running them ragged.”

 

Hoops goalkeeper Tomer Chencinski was a virtual spectator on the night, with his opposite number Patrick Whelan having his gloves warmed on a very regular basis by Rovers.

 

“Their ‘keeper pulled off some decent saves – one from Mickey (O’Connor) from 30 yards that was for the top corner.”

 

It has been a case of two steps forward and one back for Rovers this season. Every time Stephen Bradley’s young side look like they have turned a corner and will kick on, they suffer a couple of poor results.

 

There were contrasting outcomes over the last fortnight across four consecutive home games for Rovers. They came into last week on the back of two league defeats – against Bohs and Derry City – before going on to win two cup games.

 

They inflicted a defeat on Cork City in the EA Sports Cup semi-final on Bank Holiday Monday before Friday’s FAI Cup First Round win.

 

Cork captain Alan Bennett got a straight red card late in the first half for a challenge on Webster in the league cup game, which sparked a war of words between the managers last week, but Webster’s only comment on Friday on the incident was “the video speaks for itself!”

 

You can make up your own mind here.

 

After the sending off, Rovers needed the remainder of the 90 minutes plus the additional 30 minutes of extratime to get by City with 19-year-old James Doona getting the winner that sets up a final for Rovers against Dundalk next month in Tallaght.

 

“You need to be patient in trying to break teams down. Cork have defended great all season and have some of the best defenders in the league so it is hard to break them down.

 

“Some may say we should be three or four up against ten men but it is hard when they have ten men behind the ball and are sitting in front of their box. You are going side to side and sometimes you feel you are banging the same drum over and over again.

 

“We got there in the end. It was a great goal and a great bit of skill from James Doona. He has that first five yards of pace that lets him skip by people.”

 

(See Doona's goal here)

 

After those back-to-back cup wins, it is back-to-back league games for Rovers this week across four days with trips west beginning in Limerick on Tuesday before they travel to Galway on Friday.

 

“Six points is the target. They are two games we feel we can go and win. It is about bringing a performance and if we do that we will win 9 games out of 10.

 

“That was the disappointing thing about losing to Bohs is that we just didn’t perform. Against Derry we played well but we missed a couple of chances and got sucker punched.”

 

Stephen Bradley hasn’t made too many changes to his team in recent weeks and Webster says that is thanks to their work off the pitch.

 

“We go with the strongest team every game. We are fit and have done our work on the training ground.

 

“Darren (Dillon), our strength and conditioning coach, has us in the gym doing the work so there is no reason we can’t play every game.”