We can't give teams a headstart, says Poppies boss Cox

Kettering Town were made to pay for a poor opening period as they suffered their first defeat of the season

By Jon Dunham
Sunday, 22nd August 2021, 8:11 am
Updated Sunday, 22nd August 2021, 8:14 am
Paul Cox gives out instructions from the sidelines during Kettering Town's 3-1 defeat at Gateshead. Pictures by Peter Short
Paul Cox gives out instructions from the sidelines during Kettering Town's 3-1 defeat at Gateshead. Pictures by Peter Short

Paul Cox admitted Kettering Town “didn’t turn up for 45 minutes” as a poor first-half display saw them condemned to their first defeat of the Vanarama National League North season.

Having kicked off with a narrow victory over Bradford (Park Avenue) the Poppies saw their first away game of the campaign slip away from them during eight devastating first-half minutes at Gateshead.

The hosts moved into a 3-0 lead with goals after 15, 20 and 23 minutes to leave Cox’s team with a mountain to climb.

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Callum Powell grabbed the Poppies' goal in the second half in the north-east

They did improve in the second period with Callum Powell pulling a goal back but they were beaten 3-1 and Cox said: “The basics are that we can’t turn up for 45 minutes and expect to win any football match.

“We just didn’t turn up for 45 minutes, we didn’t do well enough.

“We tweaked things a little bit in the second half, scored one goal and should have had another and we hit the crossbar in the first half.

“But you can’t give teams a 3-0 headstart in the space of eight minutes and expect to win a football match.

Kettering conceded three goals in the space of eight minutes in the first half

“I learned so much. That’s not a positive but it’s something we will use moving forward and I will just try to implement one or two things this week to rectify what happened in that first half.”

Plenty has been made of the youthful look to the Kettering team this season but the manager is keen for that to take a back seat as he bids to get them back to winning ways when they take on Farsley Celtic at Latimer Park on Saturday.

“What I do want to stop doing is saying that we have a group of young players because everyone gets bored of that, especially when you aren’t winning matches,” Cox added.

“We have told the players themselves that this game is all about winning and you only get a certain amount of time to learn what the game is all about.

“We had a right good go in the second half and we were probably a bit unlucky at times. But the first half was disappointing and we can’t afford to perform like that.

“I am glad we have learnt that at such an early stage after what was a good pre-season and a healthy start on the first day.”