ASSISTANT MANAGER Kevan Nelson was in philosophical mood after Jersey Bulls were knocked out of the FA Vase by Newport Pagnell Town, urging his side to bottle their frustration to use to good effect for the remainder of the campaign.
The Islanders went down 1-0 in the Midlands, Ben Shepherd’s wonder goal from 25 yards seeing the holders progress to the last eight.
Despite a sub-par performance from the Bulls, they had their moments in front of goal and Nelson spoke of the frustration in the changing room post-game.
‘They are pretty down in there and that’s natural because they work so hard to win every game they play. And obviously today is a special occasion and it hurts.
‘But it was a little bit of a free hit for us and we have to take what we’ve learned today straight into Tuesday night,” said Nelson.
‘Credit to Newport – you can see why they have had so much success recently. They are relentless, almost machine-like, in how they go about things. We enjoy things going our way so often in the league but today has shown us that the standard at this level is incredibly high and we have some work to do.
‘We never truly got going from an attacking point of view and that was a combination of their defensive organisation and us struggling to build any cohesion.
‘Even then we had our chances and I feel if one of those has gone in, from Sammy [Henia-Kamau] or Lorne [Bickley] in the first half especially, it changes the game. They have to come out and have a go and when sides do that, we are so dangerous.’
The run to the last 16 is a record for the Bulls and in defeat to a Pagnell side that remains on track to become just the fifth side to retain the Vase, there were plenty of positives.
And Nelson was keen to focus on what the cup run will do for his side as they continue to chase their ultimate goal of promotion, which resumes with a trip to Tadley Calleva on Tuesday night.
‘Like I say, these boys work so, so hard and they give everything they can to this club. Who’d have thought, just a few years ago, that we’d be here in the fifth round of the Vase playing the holders? And then you factor in the boys coming through like Sammy and Miguel [Carvalho], it shows we’ve so much to look forward to.
‘Our goal has always been to get promoted and whatever the result today, it wouldn’t have changed that primary target. We’ve a fit and healthy group and I want to say ‘‘Watch out, Tadley’’ because the boys will want to swiftly get things back on track.
‘I also want to say a big thank-you to our supporters today, both to those who travelled and to those watching at home. We know how much occasions like this mean and despite losing we hope we’ve given you moments of excitement during this run.’