Robbie Nightingale disappointed after difficult bank holiday weekend for Cambridge City
Cambridge City had a bank holiday weekend to forget.
Having been knocked out of the FA Cup in the preliminary round by Barton Rovers on Saturday, they suffered their first defeat of the BetVictor Isthmian League, North Division season to Bury Town on Monday.
City made a great start to their league game, going ahead in comedic fashion in the second minute.
A melee from a cross ended with Bury defender Joe Hood’s attempted clearance beating his own keeper.
The pace of Matt Sparrow and Max Booth was causing Bury problems as City remained on the front foot, but they could not find the final ball.
City skipper Adam Watkins saw an effort well saved by Bury keeper Daniel Barden, but they held their lead at half time.
Bury were back on level terms after the break through Ryan Horne, and they had the lead seven minutes later through Jared Robinson.
As City sought an equaliser, Watkins was again thwarted by Barden, and the game was then taken beyond them as Emmanuel Machaya grabbed a third to give Bury a 3-1 win.
Manager Robbie Nightingale did not pull any punches about the performance when speaking to the club’s website's City Podcast.
“It’s one of disappointment, embarrassment,” he said after being asked his emotions after the game.
“The three goals, to say schoolboy defending is probably an injustice to schoolboys.
“We worked so hard in the first half. We had a good shape, they didn’t have a shot on goal.
“We scored and had two or three good chances, played some good football and then a minute into the second half we just switch off.
“We’re attacking and lose the ball in a three v three attack, and 20 seconds later it’s 1-1.
“When they scored after a minute, it was almost like we were losing the game.
“We just folded. It was hot, but it was the same for both teams. They almost went up a gear whereas we went down two or three.
“To say that second-half performance is an embarrassment is an understatement because from minute 45 to minute 96 I thought we were embarrassing.
“Lack of running, lack of quality and defensively very poor.
“We’ve just imploded and never had an answer to it.”
Despite making changes to chase the game, City could not carve out the opportunities, but Nightingale’s main frustration was the manner in which they conceded.
“The worry is the three goals we conceded having played so well in the first half. It’s pretty hard to take, to be honest,” he said.
“Moving forward, we need to put the second half to bed very quickly.
“That second half is completely unacceptable, I told them that.
“The lack of application and discipline in our play in the second half was embarrassing and I won’t take it.
“The club means an enormous amount to me and Neil (Midgeley) and Dave (Theobald, his coaching staff) and we won’t stand for sub-zero performances like that because it is unacceptable.
“You have to earn the right in any game and I thought the first half we did, we matched them for workrate and energy and got the early goal that settled us. The second half when we conceded was the worry as we folded too easily.”
A lack of cutting edge proved costly for the Lilywhites in their 2-0 defeat to Barton Rovers in the FA Cup.
The two sides were restricted to long-range efforts in the opening exchanges, but the deadlock was broken by Barton in the 23rd minute – Victor Osubu firing home.
After the break, Matt Foy shot over the bar when well placed and William Dupray should also have done better for City when put through.
City’s task got harder when defender James Peters bundled over Barton striker Nathan Tschikuna and was shown a straight red card.
Barton made their man advantage tell when Dean Dummett headed home at the far post after 82 minutes, sealing a 2-0 win.
City host Hullbridge Sports in the league this Saturday (August 31).