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Lillis: Set-pieces are so important

17 April 2021

Assistant manager Mark Lillis admitted he was 'gutted' after the Iron were beaten 3-2 at Forest Green, having led 2-1 with 20 minutes left.

After the hosts took the lead following a dominant start, defender Harrison McGahey levelled the scores with his first senior career goal on the stroke of halt-time.

Then, early in the second period, Abo Eisa unleashed an effort from 20 yards to give his side the lead with his ninth goal of the season. However, Forest Green levelled the scores with 72 minutes played and then went ahead again in the 80th, after Rory Watson had saved a penalty.

First team manager Neil Cox missed the game through illness but was in touch with Lillis and the coaching staff on the touchline during the game.

Lillis told iFollow Iron: "It was a tough game today. They came at us and we had to defend eight or nine set-pieces early on, and we went a goal down. We knew they would come at us, and told the players they would.

"We have to be so much better at defending corners. We've shown in the season we can, but sometimes we switch off, and set-pieces are so important in any league, but especially in League Two. You have to defend it, and we didn't. Individuals had a man to mark, they didn't mark that man and they scored, and that's unacceptable really.

"It was a plus getting a goal before half-time and we went into that at 1-1, and then we went 2-1 up with Eisa scoring a good goal. Then we conceded two goals, which having looked back at them, they can be stopped.

"Forest Green aren't a bad side, they came at us a lot, while we came at them a little bit, but we're disappointed with the defending on the day.

"We've not been too bad at seeing games out when we've gone ahead, and then been under the cosh, but we didn't today and that's the disappointing thing about football. When you go 2-1 up, you want the players to encourage each other, manage the game and see it through. 

"We're still in a fight. Someone could go and win two games and it's all to play for at the bottom again. We've all got to realise that. We need to get points on the board. Cox is just the same too, you don't want to finish the season with 40-odd points and being 'just safe'. We don't want that mentality in the dressing room.

"We want to be finishing with 50-odd points, so we can go away in the summer, come back and then go again. We cannot let the season fizzle out. Coxy won't let that happen, I won't and the staff won't.

"2-1 up away from home, with 20 minutes left, it's so disappointing we didn't see it out."

Jordan Clarke came off at the 20-minute mark of the game, and Lillis added: "We don't know what it is just yet, we think it might be his knee, and I'm gutted for the lad because he's a great pro."

See much more from Mark Lillis and George Taft on iFollow Iron.


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