Bury Town assistant manager Paul Musgrove on ‘mind-blowing’ error-strewn display against Basildon United as search for new players to continue
Bury Town assistant manager Paul Musgrove described the defensive frailties on show in their 6-2 home defeat to Basildon United last night as ‘mind-blowing’ and said Cole Skuse and himself will continue their search for replacements.
The Blues duo had gone into back-to-back quickfire games at the OCS Ram Meadow Stadium looking for a big response from their squad following a run of four straight defeats, three in the Pitching In Isthmian League North Division leaving them 15th in the table.
A clean sheet and three points in a 3-0 home win against Witham Town on Saturday – with Ed Upson following up two Luke Brown goals including a penalty inside 23 minutes with an acrobatic third in the 36th minute – had showed promise of turning a corner.
And that thought was further strengthened when a high-energy start to Tuesday's game against top four side Basildon saw them rewarded via Josh Curry’s downward header from an Upson corner in the eighth minute.
But it was a lead that lasted less than four minutes before Samir Ali’s shot from the edge of the area squirmed underneath Charlie Beckwith.
It sparked a run of four goals for the visitors inside the next 10 minutes before 4-1 became 5-1 just after the half-hour mark when Ali’s 30-yard shot flew in off the underside of the crossbar.
Bury did finally reply ahead of the break through a point-blank finish from Ethan Mayhew following a low Max Maughn cross.
But it was Basildon, despite the home pressure, who got the only goal of the second half with a misplaced pass from captain Ollie Fenn letting in substitute Michael Barek to complete the rout four minutes from time.
"It was just individual error after individual area, giving the ball away in vital areas of the pitch and them getting in,” said Musgrove of what was a third game this season he has seen the Blues concede five or more in.
"It was just mind-blowing to see it unravel in front of your eyes if I'm honest.
“We're fragile aren't we? That's the word.
"You need the mental capacity to be able to deal with an error and then tough another 20-30 minutes out and try and stick together and it doesn't seem to happen. Some things you can't coach."
He felt the players had let their management team down badly with the display.
"The lads have simply got to take responsibility for that performance. It's nothing Cole or myself can do in terms of our coaching ability or anything like that,” he said.
"Not being proactive and winning firsts and seconds and then getting sprung on, it's just an inner-desire to do want to do the right thing and (not doing that is) obviously a very common occurrence with what we've seen and what people have seen."
Asked if he felt happier with the reaction after the flurry of first-half goals, with Bury pressing for a way back into the game throughout most of the second period, he said: “The game just went dead didn't it? We had a few chances and again we've got to have 20 chances to score two goals.
"We had a few second half there but we just didn't convert.
"Again, that's just what people say about (it being) both boxes.
"It's absolutely mind-blowing is what I would say.
"It's just trying to put your finger on it. There's too many poor performances and ultimately letting Cole down if I'm honest. He gives them everything that you can see, better detail than I've seen for a long time with what we're putting out.
"And you just think the lads have got to take that to be fair."
He added: "Saturday was an irrelevance because if you don't go and build on that it's an irrelevance.
"It just shows our incapability to have any consistency."
Asked if he felt the side has a soft underbelly at the minute, he replied: "It needs attention, that's what it needs, and we're not going to shy away from that.
"We know what we've got to do and where we've got to get to.
"As I've said before, we'll be working 24/7 to get it right but ultimately it's got to change."
But he did praise the response of their supporters with more than 300 turning out on a cold Tuesday night with no clear sign of them turning on them or the players.
He said: "The support was brilliant so we thank them for their noise and ask them to stay with us.”
On what happens now, with the side 14th in the table ahead of a trip to now fourth-placed Maldon & Tiptree on Saturday (3pm), Musgrove said they will look to add to the recent additions to the squad of youngsters Aaron Okpolokpo and Louie Arnold in a bid to get things right.
"We've just got to keep working hard, as simple as that,” he said.
“It's a time to dig deep and again, explore any opportunities we've got to try and change personnel if I'm honest."