Shamrock Rovers came away from Oriel Park on Friday night with a point following a 1-1 draw against Dundalk. In a highly entertaining game, the champions felt they had done enough to win the game and speaking to Extratime.ie, manager Stephen Kenny felt just that but acknowledged that Dundalk put up a brave fight to hold on for a point.
"Dundalk played bravely. They got ten men behind the ball and contained us. They had a game plan and they stuck to it. It worked in the first half to some degree. They got a goal from a free-kick that we really should have defended better from. That was their only real chance in the first half. We struggled to create chances in the first half. They defended deep and done their job well and we needed to show a little bit more imagination and we did. "
Kenny believed the pitch played a part in their inability to create and admitted they changed tactics but also praised Lilywhite
goalkeeper and their own goalscorer Daryl Kavanagh.
"It's difficult on that pitch the ball doesn't travel so we went long a bit. The second half Daryl Kavanagh sparked us. We had a lot of chances. We had a lot of good play. We just couldn't get that second goal. Peter Cherrie kept them in the game. We didn't get the three points we came for."
The dropped points sees the champions lie in fourth place and ten points behind leaders Shamrock Rovers and Kenny admits that is a large gap but feels his side can overturn it.
"It's a decent size gap at this stage of the season, but the reality is we have to play Sligo twice. There's still a lot of football to be played. They are games we'd probably have to win but it's impossible to say. Who knows what will have happened before those games. We have them in Tallaght. Beating Bray next week is what we have to concentrate on, winning matches."
The former Derry City boss claimed the game against Dundalk was one they 'really wanted to win' and was hopeful that their performance in the previous match against St. Patrick's Athletic, he was hopeful of victory.
"It was one we really wanted to win tonight. I'm not going to stand here and say we're not disappointed. Given where they are in the table we should have won the game. I think our preparation was good. We had a very good performance against St. Patrick's Athletic last Sunday and I was hoping we could take it to Dundalk.
"Conceding that early goal, like we have done in the away games was very soft. We defended very poorly. It was second phase which is disappointing."
The 40 year-old manager praised the commitment of his players and knows they now have to cut out all mistakes if they are to make progress.
"I thought we kept going. People question the commitment of the players but they have been excellent. They are giving 100% every week and I think everyone would have seen that tonight. We just seem to be getting punished every week for any sort of mistake. We just can't feel sorry for ourselves, we have to stop making mistakes. Eradicate them.
"We have to dust ourselves down now for Tuesday. We have a busy schedule next week Tuesday and Friday so we have to make sure we are ready for that."