A win over Finn Harps at Oriel Park on Monday night would turn a decent start into an excellent start, according to Dundalk midfielder Robbie Benson.
Stephen O’Donnell’s new-look side have shown plenty of encouraging signs in their opening two games. After drawing 2-2 with Derry City on the opening night of the season, they recorded the same result away to Bohemians on Friday evening.
After going in 2-1 down at the break, Steven Bradley pulled Dundalk level at Dalymount Park and Benson said the feeling in the away team dressing room afterwards was that the Lilywhites should have left Phibsborough with a win.
“We’re a little disappointed that we only came away with a point,” he told dundalkfc.com. “We feel like we should have taken all three – especially after our second half performance where there was only one team who looked like they would win the game which was us.
“We showed good character to get back in the game twice – especially after their first goal when we scored straight away – and that’s a good trait to have, and we dominated the second half. I don’t think Bohemians had a shot at all in the second period.
“It was similar to the Derry game on the opening week, where I felt that we were the team that was going to win the game. It felt that the worst we would get was a draw in both matches and that’s how it turned out.
“We just have to focus and move on to the next game now against Harps on Monday night. Coming so shortly after Bohemians, it’s going to be a tough game but, hopefully, we can get our first win of the season and that will set us on the way.”
With a trip to Sligo also on the horizon next Saturday, Monday’s fixture against Ollie Horgan’s men is Dundalk’s second of three in the space of just eight days and Benson knows from his first spell at Oriel Park just how important these busy periods can be.
“It’s a huge game against Harps,” he said. “These are the weeks where you can get punished for falling away if you don’t pick up the points in the midweek games. During my last time at the club, we did really well whenever we had three games in a week.
“I think the lads who came off the bench on Friday will play a big part and that shows the strength that we have in the squad,” he added. “We know that whatever team goes out on any night will be able to get the job done, that is the quality we have.”
Dundalk and Harps, who come into the game on the back of a scoreless draw with UCD at the Belfield Bowl on Friday night, met six times in all competitions in 2021. Ollie Horgan’s side were victorious at Oriel Park in the league last March while Dundalk won the corresponding game, and an FAI Cup quarter-final replay later in the campaign. All three of the games at Finn Park ended in a stalemate.
Patrick Hoban and Greg Sloggett are expected to shake off the knocks they picked up at Dalymount Park while long-term absentee John Mountney remains on the sidelines with a knee injury.