Another vital SSE Airtricity League first division encounter against Longford Town looms for Galway United, who travel to Bishopsgate Stadium, Strokestown Road, on Saturday evening.
Last Friday United endured a disappointing defeat at Eamonn Deacy Park when Cobh Ramblers ruthlessly punished a defensive lapse in concentration. Ian Turner’s goal divided the teams as United’s play-off aspirations suffered a blow.
It also ended United’s splendid five match winning streak under new manager John Caulfield, who acknowledged the visitors’ were primed for a battle.
“We knew they would work hard, close us down, and keep trying to turn us,” Caulfield said. “The strength for us in the last month is that our defence has been outstanding. We gave a horrendous goal away and giving it away so early suited Cobh.
“They sat in and were able to play on the counter. We didn't do enough. I suppose for some reason at home we haven't been as good. Maybe away from home teams are coming out attacking us a bit more which is allowing us more room.”
With this setback, Caulfield says significant improvement must be shown in the remaining four fixtures. Upcoming opponents Longford, Drogheda United, Bray Wanderers, and UCD are all striving to attain top flight status for 2021 too.
“This was a tough night, we didn't have many chances,” Caulfield says. “A lot of players played below themselves. Sometimes that can happen with pressure. When you are the underdog and nobody expects anything, sometimes you come out and it is easy to play.
“All of a sudden you get four or five wins people are talking about promotion and play-offs. A lot of players were very, very nervous, that is disappointing. From my point of view, I'm here to try to build a team, to get ready for next season.
“The way the run had gone and the way we had been playing, it looked like we could sneak into the play-offs. That is still possible, but not on this evidence.”
Though Cobh overcame United, Caulfield has still been able to accumulate 15 points from a possible 18 in his six league fixtures since taking charge, so all is not lost according to the United boss.
“That is the learning. At the end of the day, the bottom line is when we came in, we had no win in eight games,” Caulfield adds.
“Then the lads raised their game and showed that confidence, but in this league every game is a battle. There is no outstanding team in my eyes. You saw Cobh, the same number of points as us. Was there a lot in the game? There wasn't, they got the early goal and were able to play on the counter because they have pace.
“We have four games to go, and were we to win three, we would possibly make the play-offs. We will see how that goes.
“As I keep saying there is a big job here to be done. Nights like this, when the pressure is on, it is about being able to perform. That is the difference. Players who can play under pressure, they win trophies; players who don't play under pressure, don't. There is a lot of work to be done.”