The Bucks came within minutes of securing a point but had their hopes dashed when Blyth’s Robbie Dale opened the scoring just four minutes from the end of the game. The second goal in injury time as the Bucks’ urgency kicked in put the game out of reach, and Cowan admitted it wasn’t a result he’d seen coming before the match:
“I’m disappointed with the performance as a whole; I didn’t expect to be saying that at the end of the game. We became a one-trick pony and it was like we were waiting to get beaten for most of the game.”
The Bucks saw things slip away in a second-half spent mostly on the back foot, with Blyth’s persistence the key. Cowan felt his side had opportunities, however:
“We had four or five really good chances in the first half which we couldn’t capitalise on, and that changed the game. We had 3-4 set pieces, and Elliott (Durrell) brought a great save from their goalkeeper, but we were fortunate as well, with Russ Griffiths performing brilliantly at our end.
Goalkeeper Griffiths produced some excellent saves to deny Blyth and he and his defence escaped some of Cowan’s criticism:
“I thought Russ and the four defenders were excellent today. The front six were found wanting, and nowhere near we wanted them to be. We tried moving things around to try and freshen legs up, but it wasn’t to be today.”
Referring to his side’s win over Chorley a week ago, when the Bucks produced a terrific second half to score three without reply whilst down to ten men, Cowan said:
“Our application was a far cry away from what it was last Saturday. It’s disappointing, and a day to forget. The application is a bit of a shock to me with this group, so we have to regroup because we have a game on Monday (vs Hereford). We have to take stock and get a reaction from the players.”
The Bucks will go into that game with Jason Oswell available once more after suspension but look likely to be without Brendon Daniels. The left wing-back came off the bench on Saturday with 20 minutes remaining; he was then himself replaced seven minutes later, leaving the field in obvious distress, with physio Aaron Lambley unable to give an exact assessment of his injury.