Barrow coach Ash lauds Sodje as AFC collapse again
Last updated at 16:08, Wednesday, 13 February 2013
ASSISTANT-BOSS Ashley Hoskin is confident new signing Efe Sodje can be a massive asset in Barrow AFC’s floundering Conference Premier survival bid after they surrendered the lead before going down 5-2 at Southport last night.
The veteran 40-year-old centre-back made his full debut at Haig Avenue, just hours after sealing his one-month loan deal from League One side Bury which runs until March 16.
Sodje brings a wealth of experience following a career which spans almost two decades and has included spells playing at Championship level with Crewe and Southend, while he made just over 200 appearances for Bury.
A former full international, he also represented Nigeria at the 2002 World Cup and at the African Cup of Nations two years earlier.
In fact, Sodje is the first player to ever join the club having already starred at a World Cup.
Now he faces the less glamorous task of trying to boost the Bluebirds’ survival bid, which resumes with a home clash against relegation rivals Nuneaton Town on Saturday.
“There’s no doubt Efe can be massive for us,” said Hoskin. “He came into the dressing room and spoke about things.
“He’s got great experience, and I thought he did well considering it’s his first game for a while (Sodje played his first game for a month last night).
“He will be a massive asset to this football club.
“In the first half last night I thought he was very strong as he won his headers and tackles and organised things. In the second half he tried to do other people’s jobs in covering for them.
“But overall, considering he only met the players at 6.10pm last that night, I think he will be a very big asset.
“He’s been brought in to help us get through especially the away games. He’s also been brought in to fetch that stabilisation to us by talking ad organising.
“He’s played for his country and his arrival is a great coup for Barrow – I hope the fans get themselves to Holker Street on Saturday, and why don’t they come with bandanas on?”
Barrow took the lead through Matt Flynn’s early header and battled manfully in the first half.
But the game’s pivotal moment came on 17 minutes when Bluebirds midfielder James Owen conceded a penalty, and was subsequently sent off for a professional foul, for hauling down Shaun Whalley, whose penalty was saved by recalled goalkeeper Danny Hurst.
But Dave Bayliss’s men once again capitulated in the second period when Southport’s numerical advantage told as they roared to victory thanks to a Karl Ledsham double and goals from substitute Liam Willis, Chris Almond and Andy Owens.
Hoskin was left with a bitter taste in mouth, however, over referee Karl Evans’s decision to punish Owen after being informed that the midfielder’s challenge was legitimate.
“I can only go on what James said and he said that he kicked the ball,” added Hoskin.
“But I also actually spoke to Shaun Whalley, who I know very well and his exact words to me was ‘it was a great tackle’. Shaun is an honest lad.”
Hoskin refused to blame Evans for the defeat and described the poor nature in which his side shipped last night’s goals as ‘a joke’.
But he also praised Barrow’s desire during the first half following Saturday’s 8-1 hammering at Mansfield, and insists the Bluebirds will recover from their latest beating before their clash with Nuneaton.
“It’s very difficult to take but last night wasn’t a mauling,” said Hoskin. “The lads worked extremely hard and our 10 men tired on quite a heavy pitch – games have been coming thick and fast and we’ve got a small squad.
“The lads dug in and did their very best.
“The defending wasn’t good enough and sometimes their best isn’t good enough.
“Once their first goal went in we eventually collapsed and that is the biggest disappointment.”
First published at 15:58, Wednesday, 13 February 2013
Published by http://www.nwemail.co.uk
Have your say
Better still, since we are probably going to lose, why dont we register and field the whole board in our next match. I for one would come and see it. It would be useful to see what its like on the other foot.I quite imagine that DB is performing as if he has to jump from one iceberg to the other and the next, to keep afloat, whilst the Board are simply turning up the the temperature.Now who on the Board would we put in goals for the one match spectacle ?
Sack the board sack the board sack the board!