Accra Hearts of Oak head coach Henry Wellingotn Lamptey
shared his thoughts after his side drew their opening fixture at Techiman
Eleven Wonders on Sunday.
The Phobians had taken an early lead through Winful Cobbinah, who blasted home from the spot after debutant Joseph Esso was fouled in the box.
Hearts could have gone ahead but they were denied by John Moosie in the first half. After the break, the hosts adjusted their game plan by ringing two changes and they were rewarded when Alex Asamoah capitalized on a loss of concentration in the heart of the Hearts defense to head home the equalizer.
Eleven Wonders momentarily seized control of the game, but Hearts hit back creating a host of chances. Twice, captain-on-the-day Fatawu Mohammed was thwarted by goalkeeper Moosie. The former Berekum Chelsea shot-stopper produced a magnificent save to prevent Fatawu’s audacious volleyed effort from hitting the target. He stood tall again when the Hearts wing-back looped a header towards his goal and Moosie was also alert to clear off a goal-bound deflected effort resulting from a sweet cross from Fatawu.
Furthermore, the keeper was on hand to make his goal post impregnable, foiling both Joseph Esso and substitute Cosmos Dauda at the very end.
Coach Wellington was happy with the general play but not the result. And below is a transcript of what he had to say to accraheartsofoaksc.com after the game.
On his general assessment of the game:
“I must say the game was very good and like I told you the other time, this game was a mirror of the friendly game we played in midweek but only that what I wanted in terms of the results, I did not get. But I will take the point. I wanted a win but I had a draw and who am I to say I do not need the draw. I must take it like that.
On the penalty awarded his side:
“I have studied Eleven Wonders a little bit so I know about their defenders and the way they play. I told our strikers, Esso and Selasie, to be going forward with the ball and that was what Esso did to win the penalty in the sixth minute that we scored in the eighth minute.
On Cobbinah’s goal:
“It was a very fantastic kick I must admit. Sometimes when playing such a game and you score, you must know how to defend well.
On who’s going to be the penalty taker this season:
We have not decided on who’s going to be playing the penalty for us. Most of the players want to play but as time goes on, we will know who will be the first kicker, second and third respectively. Truth be told, I was not expecting to score from a penalty, I wanted to score in open play.
On his side’s possession-based approach:
That is how we want to play even though this pitch was bumpy; we tried to put the ball on the ground and spread play. We want to play good football which we will attract our fans to our game with good results.
On his players sticking to the possession-based approach even on the bad field:
Now they have been playing together and they are getting to know each other better. But as time goes on, you will see how they play better.
On Cobbinah being fouled throughout the game:
Most of the time when Cobbinah holds the ball, he tries to hold it a bit longer but they keep fouling him and the referee kept overlooking it. So I told him to start releasing the ball early so as not to get injured.
On Cobbinah’s two penalty claims:
We had three or four penalty claims but I think the one that we had was ok.
On the slow start in the second half:
The problem was from the midfield. When they started in the second half, Eleven Wonders changed their two midfielders and if our midfielders knew who to mark, that foul from Isaac Mensah wouldn’t have happened. We were adjusting to their style and that’s when they scored the goal.
On the numerous chances created by his side:
After scoring the goal, I was deciding to substitute one of the midfielders but when I watched the bench, we did not have a lot of options in midfield. It was only Aminu, who’s more of a defensive midfielder; I was looking for an offensive midfielder so I had to hold on. I told them what I expected and they played more than I even expected from the 50th minute going. They played very well and kept the ball. I must say they did well.
On his take on Eleven Wonders’ equalizer:
Only the goal that Alex Asamoah scored was a blemish. It resulted from a loss of concentration because the defenders stood there for him to score.
On what his side lacked on the day:
If we had been a little bit clinical, we could have converted most of our chances, we should have left with all the points.
On the way forward:
It is too early but what we want is to win our matches to win the heart of our fans. That is what we want to do. To win one game after the other.
On the absence of Inusah Musah and Patrick Razak:
I think the doctors gave them two weeks, this is the first week, so I am expecting them next weekend.
On Samudeen Ibrahim’s situation:
Samudeen was brought in to fill in the 20 squad number because we know he’s not been well for the past week. We did not bring him to play but to watch and observe how we want to play in future matches.
On the support from the fans:
I was impressed with the turn up of the fans today. Most of them coming from Kumasi and other places; I was very impressed and I must say they should continue like that. I like their support and they should continue like that. I know the fans saw what we did and we will give them more than that.