Martin McIntosh says he was pleased with his Buxton side’s efforts despite their FA Trophy exit on Tuesday night and has now challenged his players to return to form in the Evo-Stik Premier League.
Two goals in the last ten minutes saw Bradford Park Avenue come from behind in the rescheduled FA Trophy tie to progress into the first round proper and a home tie with Lincoln City.
And while he was disappointed not to progress, McIntosh refused to criticise his players’ application.
He said: “We created probably the two best chances of the first-half when Ash Burbeary went through one-on-one but couldn’t hit the target and then Liam Hardy perhaps should have done better with his close range chance.
“But Bradford are a good side from the division above and with good investment behind them and I felt we more than matched them for most of the game.
“They didn’t really look like scoring until they eventually got their equaliser and then looked stronger than us and got the second.
“We gave them a run for their money and there’s no disgrace in the result, if anything it was a bit harsh as I felt we deserved the draw. Of course a tie with Lincoln would have been great for us but it wasn’t to be.”
Last Saturday saw Buxton return to league action with a 2-0 defeat at home to promotion-chasing Workington.
The gamewas the first time Buxton had played 90 minutes since November 14, the only other game prior to Saturday being the initial abandoned tie with Bradford Park Avenue.
And McIntosh says his side’s inactivity has been a frustrating factor.
“We’d won four out of four in the league before we played Workington but hadn’t been in league action for three weeks so had dropped down the table.
“We had been doing lots of training but without playing matches, and although it gave a few lads carrying knocks the chance to recover, you inevitably lose some of the sharpness match situations can give you.
“We were also missing captain Greg Young and Ricky Ravenhill, who usually captains the side when Greg is out, so we lacked the usual leadership qualities and guidance on the pitch those guys often give.
“But all in all it was a bad day at the office as I didn’t think we applied ourselves as well as we usually do, which has happened a couple of times this season.”
This weekend sees Buxton head to Hyde United before Barwell arrive at the Silverlands on Tuesday night.
Both sides are above Buxton in the league table and McIntosh has identified the games as a good chance for the Bucks to start edging back towards the play-off places.
He said: “I think along with Stourbridge and Marine we’ve played fewer games than anyone else so we can hopefully now start catching up in that sense as well as in terms of earning points.
“Hopefully the weather will improve in the next few weeks and the games will get played, although obviously in Buxton you never know what’s going to happen on that front!
“We’ve got pretty much a full squad to choose from again too which will help, particularly with not having a huge squad in the first place.
“Teams will always have key players missing and in a league where nobody has big squads it can affect everyone, so I’m hoping we can keep as many players as fit as possible through what will be a busy festive period of matches as usual.”