HEREFORD manager Josh Gowling says his side need to return to the basics following their 2-0 defeat by Bradford (Park Avenue) on Tuesday night.
Oli Johnson capitalised on defensive mistakes at both ends of the first half to give his side a foothold which they hung onto in the second half.
Gowling said his side would be returning to basics ahead of Saturday’s journey to Spennymoor Town.
“I’m looking for us to do the basics first,” said Gowling.
“The kick-off we got caught cold and the second goal is scrappy. It’s two lapses of concentration that have cost of the game.
“We’re going to go back to the drawing board and make sure we do our basics right.”
Bradford took the lead with just over a minute played when Brad Dockerty got to the byline and Johnson was on hand to tap his cross home.
Luke Haines took matters into his own hands and sent a vicious strike from outside the box which rattled the bar.
Straight up the other end Dockerty’s low free-kick was tipped by goalkeeper Paul White back to Luca Havern but the Bulls goalkeeper stopped his effort from close range.
Lenell John-Lewis went close after 31 minutes turning his man before seeing his effort cleared off the line by the last defender.
Owen-Evans was next to test the Bradford goal with his low effort forcing Dan Atkinson into a fine save.
Despite their efforts the Bulls were two goals down on 39 minutes when Johnson waltzed his way inside the box and was able to flick the ball past White and into the net.
Dan Jones had the chance to reply immediately when Jared Hodgkiss’ cross found his fellow defender unmarked at the back post, but his effort was wide.
Despite sitting back in the second half Bradford still looked sharp on the break and Isaac Marriott pulled his shot just wide.
Johnson could have had his hat-trick on 72 minutes after Nicky Clee’s corner was flicked, but unmarked at the back post his header flew over.”
Gowling was left frustrated at the lack of variety in play the Bulls showed during the second half when they were chasing the tie.
“We probably had 80 per cent possession but we haven’t moved the ball quick enough and I don’t think we mixed up our game enough,” he added.
“They literally got nine men, sometimes ten, behind the ball and we just played side to side.
“It took us until the 80th minute to play a bit longer and we need to do that more.
“We were just slow on the ball and that’s the biggest thing for me.
“We gave them that time to get behind the ball and then got frustrated in the middle of the park.
“We’ve got to get back on the training ground and work at being a bit quicker in transition.
“The two goals are probably the two worst we’ve conceded since I’ve been manager.
“We pride ourselves on being solid and organised and it’s disappointing that they have come here tonight and scored them two goals.
“They haven’t really laid a glove on us, but they’ve scored two goals.
“I’m not happy with that performance, we didn’t penetrate enough and we weren’t really a threat in that second half.”
It was Bradford’s opening win of the season after just picking up five victories for the whole of last season.
“When you give two goals away like we did a team like that are just going to sit in and that’s what they did,” added Gowling.
“They shouldn’t have been in this league this year but because of Covid they were given a reprieve.
“They will scrap and fight for everything they’ve got. When you play against teams that are struggling if you give them something to hang onto they will and that’s what they did today.”
Hereford: White, Hodgkiss, Haines, Wright, Grimes, A Jones (Klukowski 45), Owen-Evans (Mooney 45), Finn, John-Lewis, Lloyd (Coke 75), D Jones
Unused subs: Digie, McQuilkin