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FC Halifax Town 1-2 Ebbsfleet: We should have won it, says Young

Actions from the first half, Halifax Town v Ebbsfleet, at the Shay
Actions from the first half, Halifax Town v Ebbsfleet, at the Shay

Caretaker-manager Neil Young thought his Town side did enough to win the game after they lost 2-1 to Ebbsfleet at The Shay on Saturday.

Matty Kosylo’s penalty put Town 1-0 up, but second-half goals by Corey Whitely and Luke Coulson turned the match on its head.

“I thought we should have won it,” Young said afterwards. “On the first-half performance we should have been a few goals up.

“We switched off for the vital moments in the game. We looked tired as the game went on, physically and mentally.

“I can’t knock their effort. Even when we’ve gone 2-1 down we’ve tried to keep passing. We’ve had things blocked and one or two efforts off the line.

“But those big moments win you matches and we weren’t good enough in those big moments.

“Mental tiredness and mentality is probably the difference, and that comes with a lack of confidence.”

Young admitted Town only had themselves to blame for some poor defending for both Ebbsfleet’s goals.

“Their keeper’s made two unbelievable saves,” he said. “Obviously we scored the penalty.

“I’ve said to the lads ‘we played Wrexham last week and scored from a set-piece, scored a penalty today, but we’ve not scored from open play despite having half-a-dozen good chances, minimum, in the two games.

“That tells it’s own story a bit. And from a defensive perspective I thought if we take our chances it takes the pressure off everyone.

“You know teams will get opportunities in this league but it’s about what you do in those big moments.

“It didn’t help having to make two substitutions by half-time, but when you let someone get turned in the box and switch off from a set-piece, that’s what happens.”

Young added: “I thought we were very good first-half but they were better second-half. They changed their shape, they brought Corey Whitely on, with his pace, and I thought we tired as the game went on as we put a lot into it.

“I didn’t think they created a lot though - did they open us up? I don’t remember Sam making too many saves.

“But those sides are economical, they do what they need to do, and once they go 2-1 up it’s about shutting up shop.

“But we still created chances, we passed it well at times, but we need to be mentally stronger as a group of players and staff.”

However, Young did find some consolation in the fact that Town are still creating chances, despite falling further towards the relegation zone.

He said: “The thing I find odd is that usually when you talk about teams near the bottom, they don’t create much.

“But we’re creating. We did at Wrexham, we did today. In those two games we’ve probably created a dozen chances, and half-a-dozen very good chances.

“Whereas Ebbsfleet had two or three but scored two goals - I think that’s the difference.

“I’d be more worried if we weren’t creating.”

Young conceded Town’s position just above the drop zone, and the gap to the bottom four now being cut to only two points, is a worry.

“I think everyone’s got to be concerned - we’re not winning football matches,” he said.

“However you look at it, it’s two wins in 21 league games.

“I’ve been in charge two games and I’ve seen a lot of good things out there, and the players have been as good as gold, but the big moments have gone against us, and we’re running out of bodies too if I’m honest.

“I had 16 to pick from today, and Martin Riley coming back, but you can’t throw him straight in.

“But I’ve lost another two now (Josh Macdonald and Cliff Moyo), and I’ve got Josh Wilde already out.

“These are all key people to the squad. As a manager it’s not about just changing people but changing formation.

“And we’re very limited in what we can change formation-wise at the minute - that’s probably a bigger concern.

“When we tried to go after the game we put Tommo (Ben Tomlinson) on, tried to get Matty Kosylo on the ball more centrally to get after them a bit more, and it worked to a point.

“But it doesn’t work properly if you don’t get anything from the game.”

Young said Josh Wilde had a scan on Friday and was still waiting for the results, but estimated he could be out for four to six weeks.

Cliff Moyo sustained a dead leg on Saturday and Young reckons he could be out for up to a week.

Young said Josh Macdonald “didn’t look good” and was limping heavily, and could also be out for up to a week.

Asked whether he would be able to add to the squad before Tuesday night’s game with Hartlepool at the Shay, he said: “It’s a big ask. I need to speak to David (Bosomworth) and the board to see where we are with the managerial situation, and then from a player perspective.

“I’m sure if there’s a new manager imminent, he’s going to have his own ideas of the type of players he wants.

“But if it’s me then I’m going to have to try to get someone through the door on Monday for what’s a very big game.”

And when asked about the latest on Town’s search for a permanent manager, Young added: “For the club, and I’m sure David knows this more than anyone, they’ve got to get it right.

“But more importantly we need to get it right as quickly as possible.

“We need players int the club but the lads need someone to call gaffer, and someone with a bit of authority.

“I’ve managed before and won things but I think the sooner it’s resolved the better.

“It’s no good getting it done sooner if it’s the wrong decision, you’ve got to make sure the decision’s right, and I’m sure that’s what David and the board are looking at.”