Gavin Cowan: AFC Telford United results and performances not good enough

Disappointed boss Gavin Cowan conceded AFC Telford results have not been good enough and admitted players are underperforming after a fifth league game without a win.

Telford boss Gavin Cowan during the Vanarama Conference North fixture between AFC Telford United and AFC Fylde at the New Bucks Head Stadium on Saturday, January 9, 2020...Picture credit: Mike Sheridan/Ultrapress
Telford boss Gavin Cowan during the Vanarama Conference North fixture between AFC Telford United and AFC Fylde at the New Bucks Head Stadium on Saturday, January 9, 2020...Picture credit: Mike Sheridan/Ultrapress

The Bucks went down to a 2-0 New Bucks Head defeat to AFC Fylde, meaning Cowan's side have taken just a point from the last 15 available.

The Telford chief is under no illusion that his team must turn the tide after a below-par month has seen them drop to 13th in the National League North.

"I don't want to take any credit away from Fylde because they are a very good side but we were absolutely our own worst enemy in big moments," Cowan said after the home defeat to the Coasters, who climbed to third.

"It's these fine lines, not just Theo (Streete's defending for the opener) and Dom (McHale) with the penalty (miss) which gets us back in it and we can be on the ascendency then.

"But if it's a tough time for us at the moment. I understand results aren't good enough. We can talk about performances, consistency and inconsistency but ultimately we've got to start getting points on the board.

"We've come off a tough run of fixtures but I have my own standards of myself and my players and we really need to get back to it now."

The hosts fell behind to Jordan Hulme's opener after 30 minutes at an empty New Bucks Head.

But Cowan's men rallied after the break and missed their chance to level after Dom McHale crashed the post with a penalty that he won after a fine run.

Telford did not do enough to push for an equaliser and the contest was killed off with a little over 10 minutes left as Jack Sampson added the visitors' second.

Cowan, who named new loan forward Kole Hall in for a lively debut from the off, admitted his Bucks ranks have been below par. Fellow new signing from step three outfit Radcliffe, central midfielder Simon Lenighan, was an unused substitute.

The boss added: "There has to be an element of realism now. I absolutely did have ambitions (to be higher) and I think they were well-founded with the players we've signed.

"But the reality is the players we've signed have underperformed. I have to be accountable because I'm picking the teams and recruiting the players.

"I think players have underperformed and as a team we've underperformed, in spells, but it's tough because players and the team perform really well at times and you want to stay loyal.

"But we've brought a couple of players in to shake it up now and we've got to put the best team that's going to get a result, that's my job, I have to stick with it."

Cowan felt his team paid too much respect to Fylde, who had won just once away in the league all season and went into the contest with just two wins from the last seven in National North. He also highlighted sloppy defending on Theo Streete's part for the crucial opener.

He added: "It's frustrating, we gave a very good side probably a bit too much respect in the first half.

"We came out second half, put ourselves about and decided we were going to play how we intended.

"The penalty is our way in really and unfortunately we can't convert. We huffed and puffed, didn't really work the goalkeeper enough and they go on to nick another one.

"It's not good enough, we were expansive at the time with good possession and it's poor from Theo and he knows it, he's devastated in there.

"When you are looking to be brave on the ball and expansive you can't afford to give the ball away in those areas.

"It's tough on Theo, he's probably been one of our more consistent players outfield but he's been punished today and it's going to hurt. We have to stick together."

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