by Tom Pritchard
GRAHAM Coughlan admitted that his Bristol Rovers side did not do enough to overcome a resilient Bromley in the first round of the FA Cup.
Substitute Luke Leahy had put the Gas ahead with 12 minutes left to play, but the Ravens levelled five minutes later through Chris Bush, who capitalised on an error from goalkeeper Anssi Jaakkola.
Neil Smith’s side, who were backed by a vocal away following of 521, were well-drilled and defended resolutely throughout, as Rovers struggled to find a way through.
Coughlan, who took over the role on a permanent basis in January, made no excuses after the game, lamenting his side’s lacklustre display on a chilly, but bright afternoon in the south west.
“We didn’t turn up, we were poor today. We didn’t do enough to win the game. But, having said that, when you go one nil in front, I would have expected us to see it through”, said the 44-year-old.
“Bromley deserved to draw, we didn’t deserve to win the game, we weren’t good enough on the day.”
The visitors’ late equaliser came from a corner on the right side, an area of the game which Coughlan and his team had highlighted as one of Bromley’s strengths pre-match.
“It was a soft goal. We knew they were strong at set-pieces, forty percent of their goals this season have come from set-pieces, so we knew that.”
Bromley, who currently sit top of the National League, set out with a clear game-plan to force Rovers to play long, and the former Plymouth centre-back accepted that it worked effectively.
“You could see how they wanted to play. They got on top of our midfielders, they wanted us to play long and go forward to their height and size, and we did, we fell into their trap.”
“We didn’t show enough quality, we didn’t show enough composure, and we didn’t play with any purpose or tempo.”
Despite the disappointment of today’s result, the Irishman maintained that he has been pleased by his side’s start to the season, with the Gas currently ninth in League One after staying up by four points in 2018-19.
“If you look at the overall picture, we’re three points off third place in the league, we’re in the hat for the next round of the FA Cup and we’ve got an opportunity on Wednesday night to get into the next round of the EFL Trophy, so we’re going in the right direction.
“But today wasn’t us, and we’re not happy. I do get the frustration from the fans because I wouldn’t have liked to have paid to see that to be honest.
The Gas will travel to Hayes Lane for the replay a week on Tuesday, unless the game is selected for television coverage, with Coughlan admitting that their failure to get the job done at home has left them with unwanted issues.
“It is of course a fixture we could do without, but we’ll look to go and correct today’s poor performance.
“We’ll go there, recharge the batteries, re-focus and re-fuel. We’ve got a game on Wednesday night (versus Swindon in EFL Trophy) to deal with first, but we’re still in a positive mindset.”