NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: The Huntingdon Town youngsters have to quickly learn to cut out the mistakes
- Credit: Archant
They might now have Hope, but there is still no sign of glory for Huntingdon Town.
The United Counties League Division One strugglers' tough run continued last Saturday when they were beaten 5-0 by title-chasing Bugbrooke at Jubilee Park.
Losing to a team who climbed to the top of the table was no great surprise given Town have picked up just two points from 11 games since current boss Alex Cook was appointed in November although the rot had already set in under his predecessor Jimmy Brattan.
They were guilty of gifting the high-flying visitors the only goal of the first half before a fine save denied Ewan Young a leveller.
Town were then picked off as Bugbrooke struck three times in a quarter-of-an-hour during the second half before a late fifth goal followed.
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The final scoreline was certainly no reflection of the effort put in by a Town side featuring three young debutants. The aforementioned Zac Hope and Rio Thompson were both thrown into battle at 16 while rookie goalkeeper Dylan Martin made his senior bow aged 17.
But the eventual outcome was an accurate account of a game in which it really was men against boys.
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Town's raw group of players are learning on the job with a serious lack of experience at this level almost inevitably leading to basic mistakes. In fact only their captain, Wilkins Makate, has been a regular performer in non-league for any length of time.
"There wasn't a massive difference between the teams overall," said Cook.
"It was just that Bugbrooke were clinical and pounced on our mistakes which we couldn't do to them.
"There has been encouragement in a lot of our performances but we have to cut out the errors as we've been masters of our downfall in many ways.
"We were ahead in both games we drew since I've been manager and there are plenty of other narrow defeats from which we should have taken something as well.
"We all like to try to play football the right way, but we have to appreciate we're in a dogfight and that's not going to get us to safety. We need to keep the ball as far away from our goal as possible.
"It's a tough situation to put youngsters in. They are showing the desire but obviously they don't have the experience.
"Unfortunately we're at a part of the season where a lot of players won't fancy coming into a relegation battle which makes recruitment difficult."
Third-bottom Town are nine points clear of basement side Lutterworth Athletic and have a five-point cushion on second-bottom Sileby Rangers, but they have played several more games than both of those sides.
Town have collected only 13 points from 24 league fixtures this season - seven of those were gained in the opening three games.
Things aren't about to get any easier as they go to another title-chasing side, Aylestone Park, this Saturday, 3pm.