Howell focussing on positives
ST ALBANS City boss David Howell says he will look to take the “positives out of the negatives” after seeing his side squander a two-goal lead twice in the space of three days.
The Saints were pegged back by Arlesey Town at Clarence Park on Saturday before letting slip a two goal lead at Bedford on Tuesday night seeing a possible six point haul end up as just two points.
Despite the disappointment of seeing his side squander a winning position in both games, Howell felt his side showed an improvement on their preceding performances and says he looks at it as two games unbeaten.
“I think we’re going in the right direction, that’s two games now we’re unbeaten so we’ve got to take the positives out of the negatives despite the last two matches where we’ve had two goal leads and thrown them away,” Howell said after the Bedford game.
“I thought today was a little bit different from Saturday, I thought the lads worked very hard and I thought it was just a real bodyblow to give away the (first) goal when we did and how we did but we still had enough chances, even there at the death at 2-2, to take all three points and if we’d taken all three points we’d be here feeling a lot more positive about the night but as it is we’ve just got to settle for the point.
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“I think today was probably, for us, a big step in the right direction because we were getting lost up to the East Thurrock game.
“We were going a bit long, a bit direct and we were losing a bit of confidence and some of that confidence came back tonight and the lads shortened the game down and were a lot more comfortable in possession.
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“You’ve got to take the positives out of the negatives… and for me they looked a lot better tonight.”
Asked whether it was a case of a lack of concentration or fitness that had led to Saints habit of conceding late goals, Howell said: “I think it’s about momentum building up for the opposition. There were times when we had to stop them from feeling that they’d be getting from the game but we didn’t.
“I remember one occasion Nick (Jupp) throwing the ball out to Ryan Moran on the edge of the box, him losing it, and then we’re under pressure.
“If we give the ball away then suddenly we’re defending two, three corners or free kicks from a simple error that we’ve created.
“Now if we cancel those out, we’re at the other end of the pitch and putting them under pressure but unfortunately today we invited a bit of that pressure, and some games you can go through that pressure and get away with it, but today we didn’t.”
City headed to The Eyrie without the services of Rob Haworth, James Bent, Paul Furlong and Brian Haule leaving Howell light on options up front.
As a result, it meant a recall for energetic French striker Sakho Bakare alongside Jerome Walker, and he had a mixed evening scoring a good opening goal before missing a header that cost City all three points.
“I think I should have taken him (Bakare) off after about 70 minutes, I think he’d run his race,” explained Howell.
“As you see we’re a little bit light down the middle, I could have put on Joackim (Ehui), which on reflection maybe I should have done to save Sakho, but he worked hard.
“Earlier on he gave the ball away cheaply but him and Jerome did their best and tried to be a constant threat with their pace and their endeavour and they did cause them problems but we had to get behind them to say keep ‘running at them, keep looking for balls in behind’.
“Sakho scored a brilliant goal early on which put us in the lead and he could have sewn the game up but he said ‘la luminaire’ – he lost it in the lights.”
* Saints stopper Nick Jupp has been named as the Harpenden Construction Ltd. Player of the Month for September.
He will be presented with his award by City supporter John Sylvester prior to Saturday’s home game with Frome Town.