Defence switched off twice, admits Dickov

Date published: 07 November 2011

A RED card for goalkeeper Alex Cisak only a few minutes after many in Boundary Park had taken their seats wrecked the carefully-arranged plans of Athletic manager Paul Dickov (right).

The dismissal for hauling down Andy Bishop relegated on-loan winger Luca Scapuzzi’s introduction to npower League One to a mere cameo role, with the introduction of veteran goalkeeper Paul Gerrard – making a second ‘debut’ for the club, at the age of 38 – coming at the expense of the borrowed Italian.

Gerrard excelled in his first task, saving Bishop’s spot-kick and in doing so giving the home side a metaphorical boot to their collective posterior following a slow start to the local derby.

Bury’s top marksman, though, wasn’t to be denied. The injury-plagued 29-year-old showcased his lasting poaching instincts by plundering a pair of close-range finishes, his seventh and eighth goals of the season, which again originated from crosses from wide positions.

“When the ball goes wide, pick up your men,” said a clearly frustrated Dickov. “It is nothing we don’t work on.”

Despite high effort levels throughout, it just wasn’t to be Athletic’s day.

“We talk about giving ourselves chances in games and doing the basics right,” Dickov said.

“It was a penalty and a sending-off. Alex’s starting position has got to be better.

“I know they had a lot of possession in the first half, but it was without really threatening us. Then we switched off twice from crosses, which is becoming a problem that we need to sort out.

“Apart from that, I thought the boys were magnificent. We had a look at some of the stats and we played 79 minutes with 10 men and had 57 per cent possession.

“We had more shots on target and more off target.

“When you are up against it like that sometimes you need a little bit of luck.

“I am proud of them, particularly in the second half. In the first half, we switched off three times – once for the penalty and twice for the goals.

“The application, the chances we created and some of the football we played was magnificent. I felt that when we did get the ball up to Shefki Kuqi and Robbie Simpson in the first half, we caused them problems.

“In the second half, some of the football we played attacking-wise was fantastic.

“If we had scored, I would have fancied us to go on and win it.

“Dean (Furman) had a great little header that was going in the corner and Shefki tried to direct it in.

“One thing I ask is they go and give me everything they have got. And nobody can question that.

“It is a good gauge to look at your own fans’ reaction. We have lost 2-0 to one of our local rivals and they stayed behind to clap the players off the field.”