“In all honesty I feel as if we’ve been mugged. There was no time to respond when they scored (their third). Obviously we tried to win the game but at that stage I was sending the message on to keep what we had, we were happy with the point, but obviously it didn’t happen. We’ve given them (RCA) a chance and it’s disappointing; Ibby had just come back on having been injured and having just received treatment so we’re out of shape, out of balance and we haven’t managed the ball when we had it. Sometimes we’re a little bit naive and that’s going to happen with young players.
“To be fair it was a good game, evenly contested. It was a good first half; they’ve probably had more chances in the first half, our timing wasn’t quite there with regard to beating the offside trap but we seemed to put that right at half time and we started the second half the better team and got ahead. I was happy with the fact that we scored from a corner that we used well. Obviously they’re good at what they do, they get balls into the box and have got good goal scoring strikers and got the equaliser.
“Our response has been great. Peter scored a great goal to get us back in front and then it’s a case of managing the game, and we’ve done alright but again they’ve got themselves back into to it again and you think the worst case scenario is we’re going to get a point out of this, but maybe we could actually pinch it at some point. We were doing the right things most of the time and there was an instance with about five minutes to go when we got ourselves in a great position. We built the play up on the right hand side but we’ve been just a little bit rash and had a shot from distance when we could have kept it moving and worked something else. Then right at the end they threw one into the box and got the winner.
“Everyone’s pleased that we’re going in the right direction, doing the right things. We’re hard to beat, we’re certainly a better team than we were and we’ve gone toe to toe with everybody this year so far, so there’s no disgrace and when you look at the age of the team as well there’s a lot of young lads in that team. A goalkeeper who’s 18, centre half who’s 19 – young lads throughout the team and we’re learning as we go.
Two players made their debut and the manager was pleased with both of them. “Ross Logan was very good, he’s a very confident boy. He’s been training with us for a couple of months and he wasn’t fazed at all and that’s pleasing. He’s done well and been a credit to himself so we’re pleased with him. The lads trust him, he’s a good shot stopper. I worked with Dan (Wright) when he was in the academy at Sunderland and I was doing youth work and he was one of the best two players in his age group and I’ve kept an eye on him ever since and seen how his career’s developed. He went through the England teams at 17 and 18. Sunderland released him last year and South Shields were in there and signed him up, so ever since I heard he was potentially available I wanted to get him in. I thought he was good today considering it was his first game and he was getting used to the way we play. I brought him in because he suits the way we play so it wasn’t just a case of signing anybody. I’ve been patient with regard to trying to bring people in. He’s a good player and we’ve got him to the end of the season.
Mulhern explained why, as in the previous game, he only used one substitute. “If we were getting pinned back then there are changes to be made but there was nothing much in it. It was tight, we got ahead and obviously they got back. At 2-2 we were doing the right things and still in the game and it was tight so there was no need to gamble – who do you put on? You’re taking a risk then because everyone’s working hard doing their jobs. I said to the players at half time it doesn’t matter if any of the 11 who started are struggling, don’t go hiding, stick your hand up and someone else can go one and finish the job you’ve started and that’s what Ryan did. He was struggling and that was the change. I didn’t think there was anybody who particularly needed to come off or had drifted out of the game and we were still in it. I didn’t think we were going to lose it. I thought it was a point at worst. I think everyone was happy with a point, and that goes for their management as well. Then of course something happened at the end and they got something I don’t really think they deserved.
“We’re getting there slowly but surely and because we’re a young side we are going to make errors but it’s about learning from those errors and that’s what they’re doing, they’re learning those lessons. It’s a very young spine to the team and it may take a couple of years to be challenging up there with the top sides.”