We were a bit unlucky, says Poppies boss Cox

Kettering Town drew 1-1 with AFC Fylde at Latimer Park but the Poppies manager felt his team were unfortunate not to bag all three points against one of the title favourites

Saturday, 4th September 2021, 6:51 pm
Updated Saturday, 4th September 2021, 6:54 pm
Paul Cox barks out some instructions from the sidelines during Kettering Town's draw with AFC Fylde. Picture by Peter Short

Paul Cox felt Kettering Town could count themselves a bit “unlucky” not to bag all three points after they ended AFC Fylde’s 100 per cent start to the Vanarama National League North season in a 1-1 draw at Latimer Park.

A pulsating game saw the Coasters start well with Nick Haughton heading them in front after just seven minutes.

But the Poppies responded well with Callum Powell winning and then scoring a penalty before he crashed a free-kick off the crossbar in the first half.

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Powell struck the bar again after the break while Luke Ward also saw an effort brilliantly tipped onto the post by Fylde goalkeeper Chris Neal.

Fylde had their own chances to seal all three points but in the end, honours were even and while Cox could look at a huge number of positives, he was left to wonder what might have been.

The Poppies boss said: “I have known Jim (Fylde manager Bentley) quite a while, we knew what they were about and both teams went after each other for 90 minutes. I think there will be a few tired legs tonight!

“I think it was a good game for the supporters, both teams were trying to win the game which is what you want to see.

“But I just thought we were a bit unlucky. We have hit the crossbar twice, the post once and two or three of the saves the goalkeeper has made, I thought they were in before he got there.

“We responded brilliantly to the early goal. Once again, I think the average age of our team was 20 or 21 and I think we stood there and admired them for a bit early on.

“But we responded as I want them to. We aren’t showing a lot of fear at the moment. We went hunting for another goal and, on another day with Lady Luck smiling on you, you might get another one.

“We came up against a good side and I have a lot of respect for the people there and the environment they are trying to create.

“We will look at it as a positive. We have finished with a point but we are growing. As long as we keep learning and progressing then I will be happy.

“We could stand here disappointed with two points dropped on our own ground again but if we keep to that level and get some consistency, then consistent results will come.”

Cox, meanwhile, responded to criticism aimed at his team following last Monday’s 2-0 win at Gloucester.

The Poppies were labelled ‘dirty’ by an interviewer in Gloucester’s post-match reaction.

But Cox brushed those comments off as he also gave some praise to referee Thomas Kirk for his handling of the draw with Fylde.

“I know people look at me and how I talk about referees sometimes,” Cox added.

“When I was coming through in management, we would always go and have a pint with the referees and, without them in the game, we don’t have a game.

“I thought the referee was good, there was consistency. There were fouls here and there from both sides and he got more right than wrong which is all we want.

“I think last week, it was a bit of bad journalism if I am honest. I listened to the interview and I don’t think it was Gloucester’s manager who said it, it was the question that was put to him. I thought it was a bit of a cheap shot.

“But look, there’s only one thing worse than being talked about and that’s not being talked about.

“It doesn’t really bother me. I am too long in the tooth to worry about what people say about us.

“We have some exciting young players who are raising their own standards.

“Small talk and cheap talk is not for me and we just worry about winning matches and bringing young players through.”