Fenlon fumes as sorry Gypsies sent crashing
THE NEW SAINTs 4
(TNS win 4-1 on aggregate)
A TRULY dismal Bohemians crashed out of the Champions League following the worst result in their 40-year history of European competition in a rain-sodden Oswestry last night.
Hopes of a dream tie with Belgian side Anderlecht in the next round and a €500,000 pot of gold in UEFA money lay in tatters as a bruised and battered Bohemians made their way home following a nightmare performance.
An embarrassed and angry Pat Fenlon afterwards apologised to the team's supporters and admitted that the club's long-term future as a full-time outfit is now in real danger.
"I'm embarrassed. It was disgraceful. Everything went wrong. Not a single thing went right for us," admitted the Bohs manager.
"There is no hiding it -- we were brutal; shocking defensively and shocking going forward. We didn't work hard enough. They worked harder than us. It was as simple as that.
"We had a lot of supporters here and they deserved a lot better on the night. I apologise to them," added Fenlon who had a flag thrown at him as he left the pitch.
"Their frustration at the end was justified. If I'd been there as a fan I'd be the same. We have all let each other down -- players, manager, staff, everyone. We all let the supporters, the club, the league and the country down and I am embarrassed by it.
"Looking at that, Irish football is going the wrong way. I didn't say anything to the players at half-time -- there was no point. We had given them all the information they needed all the way through over the last two weeks.
"We won't be able to go forward now and that's the bottom line. The club won't be able to go forward and the players have to realise that.
"It's time to take action. We have to look at the whole picture and make a decision as a football club about what we want do.
"As a manager I have to make decisions, too. I'm not going to watch that. I can't put any figures on what it means to the club but I am responsible for the team and that performance is not good enough. I take responsibility," added Fenlon,
Despite the advantages of a large travelling support -- Bohs fans heavily outnumbered home supporters in the 1,056 crowd at Park Hall Stadium -- and a 1-0 lead from the first leg, -- Bohs managed to throw away their golden ticket to a European jackpot after being hit with a stunning three-goal blast in the space of 16 minutes early in the first half.
As early as the fifth minute, there were signs that not all was right for Bohs as a lack of communication between goalkeeper Barry Murphy and his back four gifted Chris Jones time and space.
A minute after that, TNS were in front. Matty Williams sliced the Bohs defence open with a threaded pass and Jones was quickest to react, sliding his shot past Murphy.
Bohs did try to respond and TNS needed goalkeeper Paul Harrison at his sharpest to deny Paddy Madden on 11 minutes, while two minutes later Madden headed over .
That was all Bohs had to offer in a dismal first half, which got worse on 14 minutes as Williams made it 2-0 with a very soft goal, the Bohs defence unable to clear a cross from Chris Sharp.
Then, in the 21st minute, Sharp -- a son of former Everton and Scotland man Graeme Sharp -- put TNS 3-0 up, finishing past Murphy with ease from a cross by the impressive Jones.
Bohs looked a lot sharper in the second half -- though they could hardly have been any worse than they were in the first 45 minutes -- and they attacked the TNS goal with a new-found vigour.
Substitute Glenn Cronin went close on 50 minutes, a minute later Paul Keegan stuck the crossbar with a shot and on 55 minutes Keegan again went close, his well-struck shot kept out by a superb save from Harrison.
Sadly that spell of pressure was the best that Bohs could muster.
And, instead of TNS running out of steam late on against the Irish full-timers, it was the men from Wales who finished stronger, nabbing a fourth goal on 73 minutes, Williams getting his second of the night from close range.
TNS -- Harrison; Holmes, Marriott, Baker, Evans; Jones, Ruscoe, Hogan, Berkeley (Wood 87); Sharp (Darlington 88), Williams.
BOHEMIANS -- B Murphy; Shelley, Heary (cap), Oman, Powell (McGuinness, 46); Brennan, Keegan, Higgins (Cronin 46), Quigley; Byrne (Greene 67), Madden.
REF -- Istvan Vad (Hungary)