Kettering Town showed too much anxiety, says boss Cox
The teams started the night as the bottom two in the Vanarama National League North and the Poppies ended it still at the foot of the early standings, although they did end a run of three successive defeats.
After a slow start, it proved to be an intriguing contest on the sub-standard Latimer Park surface with Kettering taking a first-half lead when Connor Kennedy seized on a loose pass and slid the ball past Brad Wade for his fourth goal of the season.
Guiseley levelled in the second period when referee Sam Mulhall rightly allowed play to continue despite an offside flag going up when Sam Jones’ challenge inadvertently put visiting substitute Adam Haw in on goal and he beat Adam Collin with a low finish.
The Poppies looked to be in trouble when the visitors were awarded a controversial penalty but Collin produced a stunning save to deny Lebrun Mbeka from 12 yards.
And it was Kettering who should have won it at the death when Michael McGrath’s cross found substitute Lorne Bickley unmarked but he headed straight at Wade who made a decent stop.
While fans are not in the ground at the moment, there already seems to be some unrest with the Poppies sitting at the bottom of the table with just four points from their first six games.
And Cox believes the pressure showed in his team’s performance.
“There was a little bit of anxiety in there, especially when we had the ball,” the Poppies manager said.
“That game clearly meant a lot to both teams. Neither team wants to be down there but the players gave everything.
“We spoke after the game and our problem lies in having that bit of game management and knowhow. I have got a group of players who 100 per cent want to win for the club and I think there’s a bit of anxiety in there.
“At 1-0 when we saw what happened in the build-up to their goal, there was a psychology in us where we lost our shape and went hell for leather and it could have cost us.
“Then, having said that, Adam Collin has pulled off a fine penalty save and we have had the best chance to win it and not scored a header from four yards.
“We don’t need to go chasing games, we need to keep our shape and sometimes we might have to wait until the 93rd minute to win a game.
“But we need to lose that anxiety. I will look at the league table after 30 games. It’s not going to be easy but it’s a marathon and building this club is going to be a marathon.
“There will be periods where you pull your hair out but I want the boys to play with no pressure.
“There were two teams out there who knew there was a lot at stake and both teams went for it and were committed on a tough surface.
“I am always going to moan when we don’t win, that’s the nature of the beast. But it’s a point we could have lost and it’s another point on the board.
“We have now got to start getting ourselves into a better position in the table but my main concern is that these boys want to win so much that they sometimes lose that mentality of staying patient.
“We will have a look at it again and give them an understanding of what we need to become.”
Cox, meanwhile, was far from impressed with the display of referee Mr Mulhall and branded the build-up to Guiseley’s penalty as “an absolute disgrace”.
There wasn’t any doubt about Gary Stohrer’s foul on Haw in the area but in the build-up there was a clear foul on Ryan Fryatt that wasn’t spotted by the official.
Cox was also adamant that his team should have had a penalty of their own earlier on when a cross from debutant Callum Powell clearly struck an arm.
“I don’t want to have to talk about referees but there was a handball in their area, which was blatant and you just want referees to get those decisions right,” the Kettering manager added.
“I have to be careful because I could talk myself into trouble but there are people who are capable of refereeing at this level and there are people who aren’t.
“I’m not saying he was just bad for Kettering, I thought he was bad for both sides. There were things he could have controlled better.
“For this level of football, I thought the game deserved a better official. I don’t mind referees or their assistants telling me to ‘do one’ but you want that little bit of respect back.
“I know I get a bit hot headed at times but you don’t need to be a football professor to see some of the things that happened. The build-up to the penalty was an absolute disgrace.
“I look for consistency in people and I just thought there was some inconsistency in there and a lack of knowledge if I am honest.”