Hemel Hempstead Town manager Dean Brennan was left to rue a poor display by his side as they went down 1-0 at title-chasing Boreham Wood on Saturday – a result which halts Hemel’s charge for a Conference South playoff spot.
The Tudors went behind midway through the first half, and they were unable to break through a well organised and resolute Boreham Wood defensive unit.
“It was a great result for Boreham Wood and puts them in a fantastic position, but I thought that we were poor on the day,” said Brennan. “The quality was lacking, especially when you consider the standards we have set lately. We got nowhere near those standards.
“We weren’t on our game, but credit to Boreham Wood, they got the goal and they defended the game very maturely.”
Hemel were beaten 6-0 at home by their Hertofordshire rivals in the reverse fixture early in the season, but Brennan was quick to dismiss Saturday’s narrow margin of defeat as a consolation to his team.
“It doesn’t matter if you lose the game 1-0, 2-0 or 3-0 – Boreham Wood got their goal and sat on their lead well,” he said. “They turned it into an ugly game and didn’t let us get the ball down and play.
The quality was lacking, especially when you consider the standards we have set lately.Hemel Hempstead Town FC manager Dean Brennan
“All in all we probably had the better of the chances but they defended maturely – their defenders made blocks when they needed to and their keeper made saves when he was called upon.”
Hemel went into the game missing three of their key defenders – Ed Oshodi, David King and Ed Asafu-Adjaye – and Brennan highlighted this as a key factor in the outcome of the match.
“If I’m being honest, we just didn’t have the squad available on Saturday,” said the Hemel boss. “Ed Oshodi has become a key player for us already after playing just three games and we know he is too good for this level.
“David King is one of our senior players now, and Ed Asafu-Adjaye has probably been our most consistent player throughout the season, so not having those three available made things hard for us. We had a very young back-line – none of our back four on the day was over 22 years of age.”
Despite the defeat, Brennan insists that his side have not given up the fight for a playoff spot – but he knows his side will probably need to win each of their remaining five league fixtures.
“We just move on to the next game now,” he said. “The Easter weekend is always important when it comes down to promotion or relegation because nearly all of the teams are playing twice in the space of 48 hours.
“If you are being realistic you would say that you need 70 points to make the playoffs and we can still do that. It will be very tough as we will need to win all of our remaining five games but we are just taking it a game at a time and you never know what will happen in football.”