Iron assistant-manager Ned Kelly claims both him and Mark Robins were left bewildered by the first half events at Glanford Park last Saturday.He also added that the situation was very saddening for everyone connected to the club.
Speaking on The Iron Player, Ned explained about his devastation for both Sam Slocombe and James Severn suffering broken arms in the clash with Bristol City, and that making two unfortunate tactical shifts in the first half made it a more difficult task for the side.
Kelly stated: “We were frustrated at the end of the game.
"The gaffer and I have been talking about it the last few days, and we’ve been in the game a long time, but in all my time in football, for both goalkeepers going down was unprecedented, and near enough with exactly the same injury, I’ve never known anything like it before.
"You usually talk at half time about what substitutes you are going to make or you’re thinking about how you’re going to change things and of course that just ripped those thoughts up. The boys will be out for a good while which is disappointing for the two of them.”
Slocombe’s early departure saw James Severn make a long awaited return from an injury which he picked up on his debut for Alfreton Town at the beginning of the season, and Kelly felt for the shot-stopper after he was forced to leave the pitch on a stretcher.
Kelly added: “For both of them, they are just unfortunate parts of football.
"There is always an injury risk element for everybody, but obviously Sevs worked so hard to get back fully fit, and then to get his opportunity when Sam had only gone down, to only last 15 minutes is obviously disappointing, not just for Sevs and Sam, but for the club as a whole.”
The Iron battled back on a cold and wet afternoon in North Lincolnshire, however Kelly claimed the team never allowed the prospect of giving up to enter their minds, and that the courage and will to fight was evident for the rest of the game, not least starting with stand-in keeper Andrew Boyce.
Kelly said: “I don’t think we would ever put our heads down and think it was a lost cause, that wouldn’t happen and ever enter the manager’s head to just throw it in.
"We had some conversations on the side line and Boycey told me that he used to be a goalkeeper when he was a kid, so that was the decision made really quickly.
"He did brilliant, and it was a credit to the group because at times even before Sevs went off and Sam was in goal, we played some really good stuff, and it was noticed by the players and the staff that the crowd stayed with us all of the way through the game.
"On the 90th minute the whistle blew and they were all still singing in the stands, which was much appreciated by everybody at the club.”
The passionate cheers of the supporters kept the players going during the difficult tie with Steve Cotterill’s Bristol side, and Kelly believes the support the fans provided during the game is a testament to the belief they have in the progression of the team.
Kelly stated: “I think the crowd has been very good since we’ve been here, very receptive and they’ve got a good idea of what we are trying to do here.
"At times on Saturday we played some really, really good stuff, and since we’ve been here we’ve had pockets of play where we’ve done well and I think the supporters appreciate that.
"They appreciate what the gaffer is trying to do, and when you have adversity like that with the two keepers, it becomes more of a ‘together’ spirit.”
Finally, returning to the man of the moment Andrew Boyce, the former Lincoln City and Grimsby defender only made his 12th Football League appearance of his career at the weekend, and the centre-half showed that he was well up for the cause when called upon.
Kelly said: “He’s new to it all, but he’s been very good, as have the rest of the group has since we’ve been here. Boycey said that he’d been a ‘keeper as a kid so it was quite an easy decision.
He said he would go in goal again for us now!
"The handy thing oddly enough was when we were trying to play out from the back Boycey is excellent at that. Lyle Taylor was going to go in goal, we had plenty of people offering to go in, but fortunately we were able to go with Boycey, and he came on and made a couple of saves!”
See much more from Ned Kelly on The Iron Player.