HEREFORD manager Josh Gowling said his side caused their own downfall as they crashed out of the FA Cup following a 3-1 defeat at Stafford Rangers.
Despite makeshift striker Tom Owen-Evans putting the Bulls ahead Stafford weathered the storm and equalising before the break through Joe Cuff.
The game looked to be heading to penalties before Cuff struck again from outside the box with a rifled shot from outside the break.
As Hereford chased an equaliser they were hit with a third as the Boro sealed their place in the fourth qualifying round through substitute Callum Coyle.
“The better team won and they outworked us, simple as that,” said Gowling.
“Obviously man for man we’re the better side but just as a unit they outworked us and that’s what cost us the game.
“We spoke about being ruthless in the dressing room and we weren’t that.
“I think if we’d had scored the second goal the game would have been done but we didn’t do that. We weren’t ruthless enough at the back to shut up shop so that was disappointing from my point of view.
“I think the team has been solid and organised but today we were just a bit fragmented.”
Gowling added that goalkeeper Paul White knew he could do better with Stafford’s first low shot which he got a hand to.
“At the end of the day we caused our own problems and that’s the biggest thing,” added Gowling.
“The second goal we were trying to play in a stupid area and it’s cost us a goal there.
“At the end of the day the third goal we were just pushing to get back into the game and caught on the counter-attack.
“The lads know they didn’t show up today and if they want to keep their shirts they are going to have to perform on Saturday (against Guiseley).
“We will go to Guiseley expecting to win, that’s our mentality going into every game.”
Hereford were missing experienced players Lenell John-Lewis, Jarod Hodgkiss and Yan Klukoski for the tie while Jake Wright made the bench.
“That’s the spine of our team and the experience,” added Gowling.
“I don’t think we had enough nous today to really shut up shop and go home with a 1-0 victory. At this level when you miss your big players it makes a big difference and it probably made a bit of a difference tonight.”
With both natural strikers John-Lewis and Demitri Brown out injured Gowling said they are looking to bring in another forward, but Covid-19 restrictions are impeding their search.
“We’re looking but it’s difficult with the cross training with the bubble,” added Gowling,
“The Football League clubs are a bit reluctant to let their strikers come out to us because we’re part-time because they can’t go back in and train at their clubs.
“That’s been a bit of a stumbling block at the moment. We’ve got a little pot of money to try and bring someone in but then is that money enough to entice someone to come to the club? We’re working on it and looking to get someone in.
“We’re talking to people all the time and hopefully we’ll get something over the line before the weekend.”