HEREFORD manager Josh Gowling said it hurt him giving National League North winners Gateshead a guard of honour ahead of their 2-1 defeat.

Two goals from Macauley Langstaff saw Gateshead start their promotion party early despite Seb Revan pulling a goal back for Hereford.

The Bulls had to rely on loanee goalkeeper Andrea Sondergaard to make a host of saves to keep them in the game.

LIVE BLOG: Gateshead v Hereford FC minute by minute updates

“We brought Andreas (Sondergaard) in and he was excellent in the first half,” said Gowling.

“It was one of those games when I thought in the last 15 minutes we really got a grip of the game. They are a fantastic side, they deserve to go up this season and I think they’ve been the best side by a country mile.

“We did a guard of honour for them. I did it but I didn’t like doing it because that’s where I want to be and that’s what we want to do.

“It hurts me doing that today a lot as I want to win things and I want to be challenging for things. It’s time for me to reflect moving forwards.

“I don’t like parties usually and I don’t like them even more now.

“They’re in a good area, they’ve got Newcastle, Middlesborough and Sunderland so they’re in a really good catchment area for players.

“I know Mike (Williams) their manager he’s a young manager like myself who has instilled a belief and an identity with them and they’ve been excellent.

“You want a team like that to go up as they represent this league and will go up to the league above, they’ll hold their own and I can’t see them coming back down any time soon.

In the second half of the season Hereford have lost non-contract players Jaanai Gordon and Maziar Kouhyar while Miles Storey has suffered a hamstring injury.

Gowling says losing them three players resulted in them missing the play-offs and eventually finishing 12th.

“The last 15 games we’ve lost form and we know why,” added Gowling.

“Any team in the world that loses their front three that’s what happens and at our level you then don’t have the squad or resources to then go and match the three that you’ve lost.

“We’ve found it difficult from then. I do believe if we’d kept that squad together we’d be sitting comfortably in the play-offs.