St Albans City must put FA Cup exit and first loss of the season behind them quickly says Tom Bender
- Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO
Tom Bender says St Albans City have to quickly put the pain of their exit from the FA Cup behind them – although he was frustrated with the quality of the goals conceded in the 2-0 loss at Bishop’s Stortford.
Former Saint Darren Foxley had given the hosts a dream start on three minutes, and a nightmare for debutant Rihards Matrevics, when he closed the keeper down and deflected a clearance back over his head and in.
And after City had spurned three good chances, Mitchell Weiss hitting the post with the first of them, Aaron Greene pounced on a long ball over the top of the defence with 16 minutes gone to fire in number two.
There was to be no dramatic comeback and after tasting defeat for the first time this season, skipper Bender knows this is now an important test of the team’s mental fortitude.
He said: “[Losing] is not something we have experienced yet. If you take pre-season into account it is the first loss in 15.
“It’s about putting this behind us and not making it a habit.
“The FA Cup at this level is a chance to make memories, it is not about going on and winning the competition.
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“We have to put it behind us and concentrate on what we want to do in the league.”
And while the manner of the defeat stings, especially as they had “enough chances in the first half to put two games to bed”, the really sore point is how the goals came about.
He said: “An early goal is always going to take the wind out of your sails. It’s difficult but when a second goal comes so quickly, it makes it even harder.
“We didn’t exactly turn up thinking it was going to be an easy game but to lose to what I deem two mistakes is hard.
“It’s one thing to lose a game, there are certain ways to lose a game, but if you are going to lose a game or concede a goal then make sure it is a good goal.
“They weren’t. They were two poor goals and that was it.”
The 27-year-old did give credit to the Isthmian League side who showed they are a tough nut to crack once they are in front.
He said: “If it goes 2-1 all hell could break loose, you don’t know which way it is going to go.
“It’s risky for them to go for a third so we knew they would sit back and defend the lead they had.
“And they did it well to be fair to them.”