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Gavin Cowan: AFC Telford went into 'panic mode'

AFC Telford United manager Gavin Cowan was left dissatisfied by what he saw as his side’s failure to adapt to the conditions in a 1-0 defeat at Blyth Spartans on Saturday.

Gavin Cowan
Gavin Cowan

A second league defeat of the season saw the Bucks drop to fifth in the National League North table, and Cowan felt his side went into “panic mode”.

“I felt really good about our preparation. We travelled the night before, stayed in a hotel and the lads had the use of the amenities,” said the Bucks boss. “The energy before the game was spot on and I really felt that we were going to go out there and terrorise Blyth. Credit to them (Blyth), they certainly weren’t having any of that.”

Strong winds off the North Sea made the game at Croft Park a challenge, and it was one the Bucks failed to meet, taking a first-half pounding and perhaps fortunate to only go in one goal behind, to Dan Maguire’s injury-time header.

“I felt that with the weather conditions we went into panic mode a bit, and didn’t adjust accordingly,” added Cowan.

I don’t know whether it’s as windy as that all the time here, but we can’t use that as an excuse.”

Maguire’s strike proved to be the game’s only goal, although the Bucks missed late chances to tie the game up, notably through Amari Morgan-Smith and Jonathan Royle. Despite rallying late on, Cowan wasn’t willing to look past his side’s slow start.

“Blyth were completely dominant in the first half and we were in panic mode. It seems we’re not adjusting in the right manner should the conditions not be suitable to how we want to play football. You’re not going to be successful if you go down that route.”

Having stayed overnight in the North-East, Cowan had challenged his players, feeling that he and his staff had done everything possible to create a platform for them, but was clearly left feeling frustrated by their display.

“There was a lot of talk about preparations this week, it was meticulous I felt, no stone left unturned, but you can do all the talking you want, you have to go out there and do it, and we didn’t.”

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