Paul Holland says he’s keen for his Ilkeston FC squad to start showing more character after witnessing them lose 2-1 at Halesowen Town on Tuesday night.
Kaiman Anderson’s brace did the damage as Anthony Dwyer’s injury-time reply came too late for the Robins to salvage anything from a game where they’d largely matched their hosts.
But the concession of what Holland described as ‘poor’ goals proved key and left him lacking too much sympathy for his players.
He said: “As has been the case quite a few times, we played well in the first-half and were the better side for all of it but then conceded a poor goal to go behind.
“I told the players at half-time to go out and carry on as we’d been doing as I felt we could win the game if we did that, but then we’ve conceded an awful second goal and it’s made things very hard for us.
“We get plaudits aplenty but how many times do we have to play well and yet be behind at the break or lose a game. It’s alright us saying how unlucky they are to be losing at half-time or whenever but the players need to start showing a bit more character and be able to bounce back when we’re 1-0 down because it’s costing us points.
“I had a pop at them after the game because we should have got something from the game. We’re all down after that but we now have to bounce back as we have before.”
The Robins showed plenty of character in beating Buxton on Saturday with a resolute performance that gave them a good springboard ahead of the Halesowen game, a factor that in itself left Holland disappointed.
“We’ve had a really good win on Saturday but not been able to follow it up.
“We have to compete and earn the right to win games in this division which we did on Saturday against a side who are still top of the league, so it shows we’re capable.”
Attention now turns back to the FA Cup this weekend as Ilkeston host divisional rivals Stourbridge in the third qualifying round.
A potential tie against a National League Premier side is on offer should Ilkeston progress, and Holland thinks the fact it is an FA Cup tie could make a big difference to how his players approach the game.
He said: “You never know how far you might get in the FA Cup and we’ve done well so far.
“It will be nice to have a break from the league games again and we believe we can go out there in front of our own fans and put in a good performance, as we did against Buxton.”
Should Saturday’s game be drawn then a replay will take place at Stourbridge on Monday night, otherwise Ilkeston will travel to Rushall Olympic the following night.
Meanwhile, Ilkeston have been told the abandoned match with Hednesford Town will have to be replayed.
Floodlight failure caused last Tuesday’s original fixture to be brought to a halt with Ilkeston 2-1 down after 83 minutes.
No new date for the fixture has yet been announced.