After his first game back in charge at Hillheads, manager Andy Gowens gave his assessment of the team’s performance against Sunderland RCA. “We had two experienced players missing at the last minute, Callum Anderson’s partner was in hospital and Tom Flynn had a stomach problem so right from the beginning we had two experienced players down, but even then we got off to a great start on the pitch with a goal in the first two minutes. Then there was the sending off which I thought was a bit harsh so with a man down we’re up against it. The way they play they’re very direct and we didn’t deal with balls into and in the box which is something we’ve got to look at. There are a lot of things to be done but there were also a lot of positives. The lads kept going and at 2-2 we were still in it, then a silly goal made it 3-2 at half time. Even then we were still in the game, we’d still got a chance, but in the second half it started to get difficult. We started to get a bit tired and dragged about a little bit but at times we kept a good shape and we actually bothered them and still had a couple of chances, so I can’t fault the effort, it was just little things we were getting punished for, which is probably down to experience a little bit. As people have said we had a very young side. A lot of teams play direct and we’ve got to learn to cope with that; we needed somebody to deal with that bombardment as we got a bit ragged.
Overall there’s a lot of positives to come out of it, but obviously negatives as well. As I said to them last week, they’ve got to step up to the plate now Kempster the talisman has gone. They’ve got to perform as men; they’re old enough if they’re good enough and it’s not just about playing nice football all the time in this league. We played some good stuff at times, we opened them up a couple of times for the goals but defensively we looked a bit frail.”