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Paul Carden questions himself and his Telford players

Paul Carden pulled few punches as he questioned his players, and himself, after the Bucks stumbled once again, losing 4-2 at home to lower-league Chasetown in the Emirates FA Cup.

Byron Moore bringing the ball down the edge of the box (Pic: Kieren Griffin Photography).
Byron Moore bringing the ball down the edge of the box (Pic: Kieren Griffin Photography).

The Bucks have a woeful recent FA Cup record, and left the competition at the same stage as they did last season, on their own ground, beaten by a side from two divisions below them.

That sense of deja vu pervaded not just during the game, but also in Carden’s post-match interview.

He said: “I actually said to the lads in there, ‘What do you want me to say? To the press, to the media? Do you want me to defend you, to say the same spiel as I’ve said for the last couple of weeks? Because it’s boring’.

“Everyone keeps telling me that we’ve got a strong squad, but then you look at that performance and say ‘where’s the strength in it?’

“We’ve got players reputedly good at the level, good for this level, who could kick on or step up a level or two, but I’m not seeing it.”

There were some boos at half-time, when the Bucks trailed 2-1, and more especially at full-time, and Carden didn’t hide from that criticism.

He added: “I get the fans’ frustration – they see what I see. Sometimes they don’t get what’s happened leading up to a selection decision, but they’re seeing players who are supposed to be better than they are, who are not doing the things they are supposed to be good at, and that’s on me.

“I would never, ever shirk that responsibility, because I’ve signed the majority of the players, or kept them on, re-signed them.”

The Bucks took an early lead through Byron Moore, but Chasetown duo Joey Butlin and Jack Langston replied, both scoring in each half.

Nate Blissett’s first goal for the Bucks did level things at 2-2 just before the hour, but Carden’s side weren’t able to make that a platform to kick on.

“I had a good feeling about today,” Carden said. “They’ve got a centre-forward (Butlin) who we know has been on holiday for seven weeks, and scores two goals in his second game back, after missing pre-season. He’s absolutely bullied us. It says a lot about us.”

“We’ve got two six feet four centre-halves (Matty Brown and Harry Flowers) who I expect to dominate anyone, but we’re not.

“We’re not defending the centre of the box well.

“It’s too easy; crosses coming in cheaply.

“I’m looking at players and their decision-making and I’m scratching my head, because what we’ve got isn’t good enough.”

Carden had questioned the character within his squad after last Tuesday’s 3-0 defeat at Gloucester, and felt the issues against Chasetown were evidence of the same: “It wasn’t a physical thing, it was a mental thing from us.

“You saw the apprehension kick in, people being nervous about having the ball, people passing back again, which I’m sick of saying about, or turning down a simple pass.

“You need to show what you’re made of, and we lacked a lot of that.”

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