Kevin Phillips delivers verdict on South Shields’ play-off defeat to Warrington Town and why he will ‘shoulder most of the blame’
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Kevin Phillips’ side took the lead in the first-half but couldn’t turn it into victory as Jordan Buckley’s equaliser sent the game into extra-time and then penalties.
A miss from Jordan Hunter ended the Mariners’ promotion hopes and Phillips revealed post-match that he was ‘gutted’ for the team, but praised the bravery of the players that stepped-up in the shootout:
“Gutted for the players, absolutely gutted for them. They’re devastated in the dressing room as you can imagine.” Phillips said.
“I’ve been in many dressing rooms in my career after losing penalty shootouts, they’re gutted in there. They worked their socks off tonight, we just couldn’t quite get over the line.
“We’re all deflated because we had an opportunity to win it. It’s not really a time to dissect this evening’s game but more of a general summary of the season.
“For the lads that were brave enough to step-up and take the penalties, I give them credit because I have been there and it’s tough.
“I really, really feel for Jordan and Jenks but it’s a learning curve and football is all about that. You have to learn from it and it will make them bigger and stronger characters and players and they will come back stronger. There’s nothing else you can say really.”
It was a disappointing night that started so well for the hosts with Darius Osei’s first-half strike giving Shields what was, at the time, a deserved lead in the game.
However, their levels dropped in the second-half which allowed their visitors to capitalise and level the game.
Post-match, Phillips revealed his frustrations at this turnaround and admitted that the ‘blame’ for the result lies at his door:
“I said it at half-time and I’ve said it many times this season that it will just be our own undoing, our own sloppiness or loss of concentration that will cost us.
“And the goal tonight, Jon has held his hands up at the end there, it was a mistake that got them back into the game and until you start cutting those mistakes out, you get punished, it doesn’t matter what league you play in.
“But again, it’s not about the blame game, we’re all in it together, we all take the blame collectively but I’m gutted for the players.
“I’ll shoulder most of the blame. I was brought here to get this club promoted, I’ve fallen short so I will take the whole of the blame if that’s what is needed.“I’m sure there will be plenty of people on social media now blaming me for it but that’s fine, I’m big enough and got broad enough shoulders to take it but I’ll defend those players to the hilt.”
“It was a game that I thought we could win this evening but I have to give massive credit to Warrington.
“Credit to them and well done but naturally, we are devastated.”