There are more than enough positive signs for Hitchin Town assistant manager Eddie McLoughlin despite a defeat at home to Needham Market

It was only the second game in charge for the new management team, the first a 1-1 draw with play-off chasing AFC Telford United and this one, a 2-0 loss against the champions elect of the Southern League Premier Division Central.

Manager Brett Donnelly and his assistant have only had the two training sessions with their new troops but McLoughlin is confident enough to predict survival for the Canaries.

The Comet: Eddie McLoughlin and Michael Jones of Hitchin Town. Picture: PETER SHORTEddie McLoughlin and Michael Jones of Hitchin Town. Picture: PETER SHORT (Image: Peter Short)

"It's going to take time," he said, "but the most important thing was to get us right structurally and defensively.

"And I know we’ve conceded twice but over the last two games, we look resolute in the way we defend and now hopefully we can start building. 

"Now we need to get a few more training sessions on what it [should] look like going forward and start to have more of a cohesive plan about how to score more goals. 

"It's obviously been a bit of a whirlwind coming from Stotfold and we have only had two training sessions with the boys since we've come in. 

"It's been really hard to implement what we want to do in such a limited time span.  

"The more opportunity we get to work with the boys and the more opportunity we get to show what we want from them, we're hoping we grow and gel together. 

"It's not my first time working at this level. We know what what's in store and we know how to get results at this level. 

"The quicker that happens, the better." 

The game with Market was decided by two second-half goals, Mills on 49 minutes and then a penalty from midway through the period.

McLoughlin did feel some of the problems were of their own making.

He said: "I thought for the first 20 minutes of the first half we were resolute in the way we defended. 

"We got the ball forward quickly, pressed in good areas and won good possession without creating many clear-cut chances. 

"But it showed we were well in the game and I was just a bit disappointed our intensity dropped off in the last 15 minutes of the first half.  

"That allowed Needham Market to get back into the game. 

"We warned them at half-time that if the intensity didn’t up itself again, then we'd be in trouble and so it proved. 

"We came out in the second half and the intensity was still lacking for the first 20 minutes and unfortunately we were punished." 

They now turn their attentions to Berkhamsted away on Easter Monday, an altogether different proposition from the ones they have faced in their opening two matches.

Their Herts rivals sit bottom of the table and could well be relegated by the time the game at Broadwater comes round.

But it starts a run of games against teams who Hitchin want to be challenging and performing against.

McLoughlin said: "When we looked at our first two games, Telford were third and Needham are top. That's a bit of a baptism of fire but in the same breath it's a bit of a win-win situation. 

"Nobody expected us to get anything and we've got a point against Telford and perhaps if our intensity was consistent throughout the game [with Needham Market], we may have a got a point, although we didn't deserve to win. 

"But we go into the next game against Berkhamsted on Monday full of confidence that we can get something. 

"We then go into a run of games against teams in mid-table or safe from relegation and that's where we’ve got to really hit the ground running. 

"We need to turn these resolute defence performances and ifs, buts and maybe chances into goals."