The Cards lost 3-1 to League One AFC Wimbledon who were miles in front of them in the first 45 minutes.
The night was important for match minutes but more for the fans to show their thanks to long-serving hero Gez Sole.
Nearly 700 turned up for his benefit game and Dowson was quick to praise the former Cards forward.
“It was great for Gez, anyone who knows him can only say great things - and he nearly buried that free-kick!” the new manager said.
“It was men against boys in the first half. We were poor but Wimbledon were great, they pass the ball very well and they are all serious athletes. We were chasing shadows but in the second half we got closer to them and could have got a few goals.
“These type of games are for experience a lot of the time. You don’t get excited if you get a result, you can’t worry if you don’t.
“I would have liked us to have been better in the first half and told them t half-time but we were missing a few players who we needed for that to have happened.’
Dowson’s team begin the National League South season on August 4 away to East Thurrock United.