Hatswell Reflects on Bohs Success
Wayne Hatswell is hoping that Dundalk can get even better and prove a “tough nut to crack” for their Premier Division opponents, after his goal silenced reigning champions Bohemians at Oriel Park last Friday night and saw the Lilywhites keep pace with Saint Patrick’s Athletic at the top of the table. The home side entered the game knowing they would have to rewrite the history books if they were to put together back-to-back wins, and Hatswell’s 76th-minute strike penned the piece as Dundalk secured their first league win over Bohs in almost nine years and only their second in 21 attempts since 1994.
Hatswell’s celebration mysteriously earned him a yellow card, which brings his caution count to four and rules him out of the home meeting with Sligo Rovers on 21 May, and the left-back quipped that perhaps scoring against the champions is forbidden fruit. “He said it was for incitement or something like that,” Hats told dundalkfc.com. “But I scored at the end where the Bohs fans are, I’m running in that corner; where else can I go? I don’t understand it. I haven’t left the field of play and I haven’t taken my shirt off, so how can I be booked? Have I been booked for scoring against Bohs?” It’s a fruit, however, that the Swindon-native has no regrets about sampling. “I’ve been close before, so it was nice to score, and when it’s the winner as well it’s a bit more pleasing,” he said.
“We were on top when we scored and I personally thought Bohs ran out of ideas,” he added. “They went pretty direct; they chucked on another couple up front and changed it. But overall I couldn’t really see them scoring, apart from set-pieces which they’re good on. They’ve got great delivery but I felt we coped quite well with that. We’ve got good delivery and we look a threat from set-pieces as well. It was probably going to be one of those games where a set-piece was going to win it, and luckily it did for us. Tom (Miller) got across in front of his man and headed it; I can’t remember exactly how it came to me, it all happened so quickly, but I knew I wasn’t far out. I just had to get something on it and I bundled it in. It was nice to see it hit the back of the net.
“It was a fantastic result for the club in general,” he continued. “I think it’s been nine years since we beat them. It was good to see the place packed out and everyone getting behind us. It was a good night overall. In the second half, obviously I was down the left-hand side and the fans never stopped singing the whole half which was brilliant. They just willed us on and I think they seen that Bohs were there for the taking. It was obviously nice to get the result for them. It’s fantastic to see a good crowd here, and they were fully behind us which was nice, because that’s what we want and that’s what we need. Bohs are a good side and they’ve got some good players. On our pitch, you can pass it and that’s what they did, very well.
“It was nothing we didn’t expect from them,” he added, “because they’re a good side, but we limited them to probably four shots from the edge of the box, and you can shoot from there all day probably against Pete (Cherrie). I didn’t really feel that Pete was tested and they didn’t really get behind us at all, so even though they had a lot of the ball we still felt comfortable. I did, personally, anyway. It was obviously a big blow to lose JJ (Melligan) early on because he’s a big player for us, but Johnny (Breen) has come in on a few occasions now. He had longer than he probably would have expected but fair play to the kid; he came on and went up against some good pros and he competed well. He got us the corner that won the game and I think the longer the game went on the better he got. He kind of had that bit more belief, and he has been excellent for us for such a young kid.”
Dundalk have made an identical start to the 1991/92 season when Turlough O’Connor’s side eventually finished fourth. But despite gathering 18 points in the first round, Hatswell is still seeking improvement. “It’s a good start for us,” he said. “But we’re still not top of the league; obviously St. Pat’s keep edging out as well. There is a long way to go yet but it’s a good start for us after the first round of nine games. And psychologically we’ve played everyone now and we’ve done well against them. But we can’t take our foot off it one bit; it’s going to be even harder for us now, but that’s something that we’ll have to deal with. We’ve got good players in the squad and you always like to think that you have a chance of doing well. Me and the Gaffer have always wanted to think that we’re going to be competitive in every game and we’re going to be tough to beat. I think we just need to try to build on the clean-sheets that we’re getting. We just gel as a team and hopefully we can keep getting better and better at it the longer we keep playing together, and hopefully we’ll be a tough nut to crack.”
Dundalk’s next outing is against Bray Wanderers on Monday night when the Louth side will now be expected to win having entered the Bohs game as underdogs. But Hatswell is taking nothing for granted. “We’re expected to win now, but Bray have gone to Shamrock Rovers and obviously took them to a very close game,” he said. “They probably felt unlucky against us when we played them down there, so we’re under no illusions; we’re going to be in for a tough game. There are no easy games in this league; I don’t care what anybody says. Whether the league shows that or not, there is no easy game. We need to go into the games coming up in the same frame of mind as Friday. It was just another three points against Bohs; we knew we were in for a tough game and we weren’t disappointed. They’re champions for a reason; they’ve got strength in depth and they’ve got a squad that everybody is really envious of. We’ve got to take the good achievement of beating them but we’ve got to put it to bed now. We’ve got a massive game now against Bray. They get bigger and bigger as we go along, and we have to look to them – they’re coming thick and fast.”