Keith Curle with reaction to the Brunton Park homecoming
Manager Keith Curle gave us his reaction to the home draw with York City on Saturday afternoon.
“As soon as I went into the dressing room after the game I reminded the players that if we don’t keep clean sheets consistently then we aren’t going to be able to progress in the way we need to,” he said. “Added to that, if you don’t take your chances you aren’t going to win games. Good teams can win games by one-nil, but there’s an art to it. We’ve just dropped two points against a team I feel we should have beaten.
“There is an element of frustration because we created enough chances to comfortably win this one, but we didn’t take them. If you’re only one ahead it means the other team is always just one opportunity away from getting something. As it was they had two shots in the second half and they scored from one of them. It was a fantastic strike initially but there was a bit of luck when the rebound fell their way.”
“Our goal came at a good time for us but I think we always needed a second one,” he added. “We started the game quite well but another goal would have turned it into a comfortable victory, and everybody could have enjoyed their afternoon. When you’re only one ahead you’re always living on a knife edge.
“I enjoyed our goal because it was good industry from Jason [Kennedy]. We should have killed it after that because the longer it goes where a team which is fighting for its life is still in touch, the more likely it is they will throw caution to the wind.
“I want to win games, make no mistake about that. Arguably our top scorer has had three very good opportunities to score and he’ll be disappointed that he didn’t. The important thing is that we’re creating chances and I know our strikers will finish them off if they keep coming. There are goal scoring threats right across the team and I firmly believe we will beat someone heavily before the end of the season.”
“I thought we looked strong defensively and we didn’t allow them to get behind us,” he said. “It wasn’t a day for running with the ball and that’s why Hallam Hope and Alex Gilliead were late introductions.
“Danny Grainger wasn’t quite ready to perform so he wasn’t available for selection. It’s one with him where we had to leave it to settle for 72 hours. It can then be scanned and looked at. He’s a quick healer, and he looks after himself in the right way, so he’s doing everything he can to make sure he’s available. We’ve got the pieces of the jigsaw to fill bits in as we need but we just need to put them together on a more consistent basis.”
As to whether or not we should have been facing ten men, he said: “I spoke to Penn when he was getting treatment and I told him he was a lucky young man. I think he told me that he also thought he was off.
“The referee stood over him with his notepad and I don’t know if he noticed he’d already booked him or not. It could very easily have been a sending off in my opinion.”
“I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again, we’re a work in progress,” he commented. “We’ve got the grass back, which is excellent, and we’ve got people coming back through the gate. That’s also excellent. What we need now is for the results to follow.
“Performance wise a lot of things were good, but there are elements where we’ve shown we are still a long way from where we want to be. I’ll dissect the game tonight [Saturday] and we’ll have an hour at some point next week where we present what we feel were the good and bad points from the game to the players. We had good shape and decent balance, and that was after a change of personnel and formation, so there were pleasing aspects to come out of it.”
“It’s great to be back at home,” he concluded. “It’s quite fitting for us to have had the post-match press conference in the boardroom because this is the chairman’s room. I know this has affected him badly because this football club is a passion for him. He hasn’t enjoyed seeing the devastation and at least we’ve given him something back now by getting the games on here again.
“A lot of work has been done behind the scenes by people who don’t seek pats on the back to get this game on. I have to say, when the players came into the ground today and saw the queue for tickets they were excited by it. That’s what I want to see as often as possible.
“I’m doing everything I can to bring attractive and attacking football here so that we can all enjoy this journey together. What we wanted from today was for things to be as smooth as possible for the paying public.
“It was an excellent response from the fans. The more people who come in to the stadium the better the atmosphere is. It would have been fitting if we could have had a good victory but I think they’ve seen enough to know some good things are happening here.
“The pitch is different, I have to say that. There’s a level of uncertainty when you’re running with or trying to control the ball. The bounce is varied as well, but we can’t expect it to be in the tip-top condition we had before the floods came. Credit to Dave [Mitchell] and his team for getting it to the stage where we can play our fixtures on it. They’ve been unbelievable and have worked very long hours.”
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