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MANAGER: You can't have a spell like that

Paul Simpson on the frustration of the Tuesday night defeat

21 December 2022

Club News

MANAGER: You can't have a spell like that

Paul Simpson on the frustration of the Tuesday night defeat

21 December 2022

A mad three minutes cost United dearly on Tuesday night as Northampton took advantage of a hesitant passage of play to pounce twice in quick succession as they first equalised and then took the lead, just moments after the Blues had got themselves ahead.

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“Unfortunately if you have a spell like we did for five or six minutes - or whatever the timings were between the two goals - against a team who consistently cause you problems, then you’re not going to win games,” manager Paul Simpson said after the game.

“I thought we scored a really good goal, but unfortunately I think the linesman has been swayed for the goal he’s disallowed because the crowd abused him for that first one.

“That was actually a correct decision, because McGowan played Jack Ellis on by probably a minimum of five yards. He definitely wasn’t offside.

“That got us in front but we didn’t deal with a little spell after that where we gave the ball away cheaply, we lunged into tackles, we lost our focus and they got their goals.”

Expanding more on Tobi Sho-Silva’s disallowed finish, he commented: “The assistant referee has made a huge error.

“I’ve been in to ask the question and he’s just told me that Paul Huntington was offside, but he wasn’t.

“Tobi Sho-Silva wasn’t offside either, so the goal should have stood. Having talked to the officials, it doesn’t make me feel any better. They’re in there talking about it, and I know I’ve been able to watch it back on video, whereas they probably haven’t yet.

“But I know that officials are marked on Key Match Incidents. Now I’m afraid that is a Key Match Incident and it’s cost us a second goal.

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“I’ve just said to him that I’m not saying for one minute that we’d have held on for a draw, I don’t know that, I haven’t got a crystal ball where I can see that, but he has definitely cost us a goal.

“I’ve watched it on the video and the angle that I can see shows that Paul Huntington is not offside and neither is Tobi. It’s a legitimate goal, but it’s been chalked off.

“My opinion is that he’s been swayed by a small crowd of people over in the far corner who abused him for the first goal, which he correctly didn’t give offside, and that’s led to him making that decision.

“But, I’ll say this again, we’ve cost ourselves the game in that five minute spell. We didn’t get to grips with what was happening and we didn’t do the things we’d been doing for other periods of the game well enough.”

Always important is how the period just after a goal has been scored, particularly away from home, is handled.

“It really is important, and it’s a time when you’ve got to go back to basics,” the manager told us. “That was a thing we talked about, we said that the team who did the basics well was the team that was going to win.


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“We said at half time that it was going to be on who was going to make the mistakes, and we asked them to make sure we weren’t the ones who were going to make them.

“Unfortunately we did, we were punished, and we have nothing to show from a game where we worked really hard.”

On the manner in which the goals were conceded, he said: “The first is from a set play and we have to accept that there are occasions when we won’t win first contact.

“That’s fine, but everybody has a role and once it goes over the near post man’s head he has to get back onto that post. If they do the job, he clears the ball with a simple volley up the field. We didn’t do it, so in it goes.

“The second goal, we’ve had a throw, we’ve given it away in the corner and then it’s a mistake from Paul Huntington, we all know that. It’s a clear mistake, but we shouldn’t be in that position.

“None of it should happen. There’s real frustration over an assistant not doing his job properly, but the bigger frustration is that we should have dealt with that period of that game better.


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“In trying to explain what happened through those five or ten minutes, all you can say is that they just lose it with all of the simple things, from passing to keeping the ball, and it costs us.

“The teams that are up at the top of the league – Orient, Stevenage, Northampton – they consistently ask questions. They do things consistently well.

“Maybe we can say that they’ve been together longer, I don’t really know, and there’s maybe a little bit more nouse in there that we don’t have yet, so we need to try and get it. I’m not trying to take anything away from Northampton, but I really do think we’ve thrown it away, and that’s the most disappointing thing.

“We had an opportunity here and we’ve let it slip by. I’m not taking anything away from Northampton, they’re a really good side, and they’re in that league position for a reason.

“They keep asking questions and they have players who cause real problems. I just thought we’d dealt with it all, we’d got ourselves into a good position, but we haven’t seen it through. We haven’t been strong enough and individual errors have cost us again.”

“Without a doubt the lads know they’ve missed an opportunity,” he concluded. “We’re in it together and we all know that.

“They’ve been really good with everything we’ve put to them over the last few weeks when conditions haven’t been ideal, and now we have to dust ourselves down and get ready for Bradford.”

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