Still critical of Town’s first half display

John StillJohn Still
John Still
Hatters boss John Still was left disappointed by his side’s first half performance as they crashed out of the FA Cup at Welling yesterday, writes Mike Simmonds.

The boss aired his frustrations during the post match huddle and speaking to the press afterwards, he said: “I don’t think we played a cup tie first half, we played a cup tie second half.

“I was very animated because this is the FA Cup and sometimes it doesn’t matter how you play, you can have a bit of luck and go through as it’s a one off.

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“You can have a bit of bad luck and go out, that happens, but if we’d have played the second half way in the first, I’d have thought maybe it wasnt right, but second half was right, 100 per cent right.

“So that really disappointed me we could play two halves like that, I’m not going to accept that, that’s not right.

“It took too long to play with that FA Cup urgency and we’ve had warnings of it.

“At Tamworth away and lots of other teams against us are going to play cup ties, so we have to come to terms with that.”

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Hatters fell 2-0 behind in the final 17 minutes of the half as Still felt his side’s defending wasn’t up to scratch.

He said: “They were two soft goals defensively. Really soft, from being in no danger.

“The first one I thought the two centre halves could have done a lot better, the second one, Andy Parry and I understand it’s not his position and he’s run from out to in, but he’s got to go with his runners.”

Town made four changes for the clash, with the likes of Ronnie Henry and Andre Gray missing out due to injury, while keeper Mark Tyler and Scott Griffiths were on the bench.

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Still made no excuses though as he said: “I think Elliott (Justham), Andy (Parry), (Alex) Lacey, Jim Stevenson, Mark Cullen are learning their trade.

“I can name lots of reasons why maybe it isn’t bang on, but it was bang on in the second half, so we can produce it.

“All those players are fighting for places, I’m great believer in young, hungry players and will do everything I can to push them, but young hungry players have also got to push themelves.”

Although some fans declared themselves not overly fussed with the team for going out of the competition to concentrate on trying to win promotion ths season while striker Gray also tweeted his similar thoughts, but Still didn’t look at it that way.

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He said: “The players got a standing ovation as they saw a performance second half, but this isn’t about one game, it’s about building a team that can get promotion, maintain it’s position where it is and keep growing.

“Of course there’s going to be setbacks, I’d be stupid to think that there won’t, and their home record is good.

“But I just look at two halves of the game and if we can do it one half we can do it both halves.”

Hatters now head to Braintree on Tuesday night, a ground they have yet to win it, but Still wasn’t fussed about their poor record and hopes to have captain Henry fit.

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He added: “He had a jab in the week that meant he wouldn’t be available, but he may well be back for midweek.

“We played Smudger (John Smith) there first game of season, we put Andy Parry there and I thought he did okay but you can’t make mistakes as a defender.

“It doesn’t bother me, we’ve been involved in games on almost park pitches, so that doesn’t bother me.

“The only thing that I demand is that you play every game as if it’s your last game.”

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