That run of five games, including three losses and just two points collected, had brought some scrutiny of the Bucks and their manager after back-to-back victories to launch their season had given way to some tough defeats, especially the midweek loss at league leaders Gloucester City.
Cowan acknowledged that his team had been under some pressure, but was delighted at their response.
“I’m really proud of the staff and the players,” he said. “They deserve all the credit this week. Obviously, people don’t look at performances, or how close we are; they expect a points return, and I completely understand – that’s how ruthless football is.
“You do come under a bit of pressure, but the players have dealt with it admirably. They’ve shown what a really close group they are, and I’m lucky that I’ve got some amazing staff who work closely with me as well, so they deserve the credit for what was a brilliant performance.”
Jason Oswell amd Dom McHale scored for the Bucks.
The Bucks boss gave debuts to new signings Andy Bond in midfield, and Stoke City academy player Eddy Jones at left-back. Both gave good accounts of themselves, and whilst Cowan knew what to expect from the experienced Bond, Jones was more of an unknown quantity, albeit one who came recommended from a trusted source in ex-Bucks and Shrewsbury Town striker Dave Hibbert, now an academy coach at Championship side Stoke City:
“We’re fortunate that we have great links. I’ve a close relationship with Dave Hibbert, he’s a really good friend of mine, and we’re in contact constantly, and his name (Jones) was just one that cropped up. Our whole left side has been wiped out, we’ve been asking players to play out of position, we’ve been really depleted.”
Adding to that injury situation, Bucks central defender Shane Sutton limped out of the action at Darlington too, sustaining a suspected fracture to his little toe:
“We had four starters out injured today and then Shane goes off with his toe as well, so it was one of those situations where if you can recruit good players you have to jump at it. Credit to both of them; there are no funds at the club. Andy’s found himself at a level he didn’t anticipate, he thought he was sorted out and then had to drop down a level at late notice so he’s been doing everything he can to get back to this level, and credit to Stoke for seeing the bigger picture with Eddy, we’re really thankful that they’ve let him come out to us to play games and credit to both today, they’ve been fantastic.”