Bracknell Bees' concentration levels need to improve, says coach Gareth CoxBy Lewis Rudd
January 03, 2013
Gareth Cox is hoping his Bracknell Bees side can learn from previous mistakes as they look to begin the New Year with victories over Slough Jets and Guildford Flames this weekend.
The Bees coach felt some of his charges switched off at vital times during the opening period of Sunday’s 6-3 loss at Manchester Phoenix, with the hosts racing into a 4-1 lead inside the opening 20 minutes.
Bracknell, full of confidence following a 7-2 thrashing of bottom side Telford Tigers 24 hours earlier – ending a run of four straight EPIHL defeats – opened the scoring in the third minute through Alan Lack.
But mistakes defensively allowed title-chasing Manchester a way back into the game and then add a further three uncontested goals during the first period.
Bees improved as the game progressed, but late strikes from Martin Masa and a second from Lack proved to be nothing more than consolation as the side ended 2012 on a disappointing note.
Summing up the weekend, Cox said: “On Saturday night the side never really got out of second gear – but we never really needed too as we played well enough to secure the win against Telford.
“We worked hard and as I have always said, if you work hard the rewards will eventually come.
“Then on Sunday we started well but Manchester hit a purple patch towards the end of the first period and finished 4-1 in front.
“We worked hard for the rest of the game, but it just shows you cannot switch off or lose concentration whatever period of the game you are in.”
He added: “We were guilty of making a few basic mistakes towards the end of the first period.
“It happens in hockey, especially against the stronger teams like Manchester, but we will learn our lessons from it.
“But fair play to ourselves because we dug deep and finished the game strong.
“We will learn our lessons from Sunday and hopefully it won’t happen again.”
Despite the loss, Bees remain sixth in the current EPIHL standings, with 31 points from as many games.
And with the season reaching the half-way point hopes of ending a three-year play-off exodus in 2012/13 look promising.
Cox, however, is refusing to get carried away with the strides taken by his side so far this season, with the coach insisting there is still a long way to go before the possible can be looked at as a probable.
“I am pleased with some of the work we have done this season, but there have been times where we have been sloppy and have lost games," he said.
“I’m not pleased with some of the injuries we have suffered and players leaving isn’t helping us out at all.
“We are not where we want to be but we are in a lot better position than some of the teams in the league.
“But the league is still so close and there is probably four, five, six or seven places who can still be anybody’s.
“There is still 24 games left to play so anything can happen.
“We need to make sure we are getting better and improving every week and results will, hopefully, take care of themselves.”
Bees return to the ice on Saturday when they make the short trip to rivals Slough Jets (6.30pm) before Guildford Flames are welcomed to the Hive on Sunday (6pm).
Cox is hopeful a number of his players have shaken of illness in time to make the trip to the Hanger.
One of those who will defintely making the journey along the M4, though, will be new defensive import Pavel Strycek, who arrived in the UK from his native Czech Republic last night.
Regardless of who is available this weekend, Cox believes his side are in for a tough weekend.
Bees are yet to record a win against the Jets in five league and Berkshire Cycles Cup outings this season, although they did manage to salvage a point from a 6-5 penalty loss to their neighbours at the Hive last month.
The side’s form against the Flames, meanwhile, is more encouraging, having won two of their three EPIHL meetings this season.
The most memorable victory came back in September, when the Bees recovered from 5-2 down at the Spectrum to record a 6-5 success.
Cox said: “Slough we always struggle against but we always give them a good game, but against Guildford this season we have shown we have nothing to fear about them.
“They are on a really good run of form at the moment and we know we are in for a tough weekend, but on our day we are more than a match for anyone in this division.”