The Bucks lost 3-2 in a thrilling but rain-soaked encounter with Boston United on Saturday, as they and the Pilgrims, hotly tipped to win the National League North title, slugged it out at The Northolme, home of Gainsborough Trinity.
Cowan said: “I think we’ve gone more than toe-to-toe with them; I asked the lads to win a battle, and said to them ‘If you win the battle then you’ll win the game’ and I can’t say that we didn’t win that battle.
“I enjoyed it; I enjoyed that type of game as a player, that combative side, and I enjoy my players doing that. I learned a lot about them today.
“We’re ruing a lack of concentration, but it’s a good performance against another good team, so it’s not the end of the world.”
Cowan’s side led through Aaron Williams’ third goal of the season, but found themselves 3-1 down shortly after half-time. Williams’ forward partner Jason Oswell added his third goal of the campaign to cut the deficit but the Bucks couldn’t find any further reward.
Cowan felt his side showed their adaptability but was left lamenting what he felt was a clear offside decision for Boston’s third goal and also his team switching off at vital moments:
“If they’re going to play football then we’ll play football; if they want to have a battle then we’ll have a battle,” Cowan said. “It was a very good performance from the lads, and it’s hard to criticise, but what I would say is that either side of half-time we have to be a little bit more astute, and concentration levels have to be higher.”
“It’s essentially disappointing to lose to the third goal. We had the benefit of the live stream on in our dugout and the lad’s stood two yards offside. It’s frustrating; I thought the referee was very good today but the assistant was all at sea. We have to be accountable for ourselves, for the two other goals we’ve conceded, but I thought to a man we were excellent.”
The Bucks dropped a place to third in the table; however, Saturday’s league programme was a diminished one, with several clubs in Emirates FA Cup action as well as others in periods of self-isolation due to positive Covid-19 test findings.