Manager Keith Curle gave us his reaction to the Exeter City game shortly after full time on Saturday evening.
“I think we put enough balls into their box, particularly in the second half,” he said. “We peppered the six-yard box but things aren’t quite going our way in that area at the moment.
“On the flip side of that we lost a game because we didn’t get first contact on a set piece. That’s vitally important, as we’ve seen again today, and it’s something we’re working on. We know that if the attacking team gets that first contact it then becomes a lottery as to where it ends up.
“They’d obviously worked on having bodies in there and they also got a block on the keeper. If the referee had seen that he’d have given a free kick, but he interpreted a lot of things differently to me all the way through the 90 minutes.
“The good thing is that there are some pleasing signs. We saw effort, application, attitude and willingness, which were all there in abundance. You’d arguably say that the quality of the balls we put into the box were deserving of a break going our way.
“The keeper made a couple of good saves and we had scrambles and the ball bouncing off the bar, and things like that. You feel that what you need is a presence in the box just to force it over the line. Obviously overall there’s disappointment because ultimately we’ve been beaten by a set piece goal.”
Having dominated much of the game, he said: “That doesn’t make it any easier to take because statistics don’t get you three points. Goals get you that, and that’s what we need.
“I thought we looked solid enough at the back but we obviously had to get a little bit stretched when we were going for it late in the game. That was when we changed the formation and we needed to get more men forward.
“Overall I thought we pegged back a very good team who have two very good centre forwards they can build off. They played some good football and they have some strong skillsets, but they didn’t open us up much.
“At the other end I thought the ammunition we put into their box was more than deserving of a goal.”
On where those goals will come from, he told us: “Goals do change games and the one we conceded was a horrible one to let in. It gave them something to defend and you have to give them credit, because they did that very well.
“We need to be more committed and more dynamic in the box and you have to say that if we keep doing what we did today somebody is going to get turned over here at Brunton Park. We’ll continue to work hard, and the best thing is that I have a group who will never shy away from hard work.
“There’s a real desire and willingness from them to do that and, at the moment, that’s the only way we’ll get the rewards. As everyone says, the harder you work the luckier you get.
“We’re talking about having a presence in the box for the chances but we’ve got what we’ve got, and we still have very good strikers here in the building. We need to be persistent and persevere because we’re stretching teams, so it will come.
“Having put as many good balls into the box as we did we needed to get first contact more often. They were defending in numbers, because they had their goal, and we tried a number of options to try to get through a very well drilled and organised team.
“We’re doing everything right in terms of artistry and industry and the willingness and endeavour are also there. Things aren’t going our way but if you know you’re doing your job properly then that’s what you continue to do until things turn your way again.
“If you expect to get rewards by not doing things properly you won’t get very far. What we don’t do in the mean-time is feel sorry for ourselves. You could say that last season and the season before we’d have forced goals from the type of momentum we had in this game.
“That isn’t happening at the moment, but it will. We have a completely different strike force now which needs a different type of service. We aren’t going to win the majority of headers inside the six-yard box so we have to make sure we deliver them accordingly.
“The pleasing thing is that we aren’t being negative. We’re trying to score goals and get the ball forward. It was an entertaining game but the unfortunate thing was that we didn’t get the result for the part we played in it.”
When asked if confidence had taken a hit when it comes to playing on our home patch, he told us: “The fact that we’re looking for results at home does affect confidence, of course it does, but the players won’t shy away from that. I won’t shy away from it either.
“As a manager I want to win games and the sooner we break the duck and win at home the better. It is a factor now simply because we aren’t winning our home games. Once that starts coming, and if we put it together with the away results we’ve been getting, we’ll be climbing up this league.
“I imagine this game was a very good game for the neutrals to watch, but I’m not a neutral and I wanted us to win. We had enough balls in the box worthy of us getting a goal that would have given us a point as a minimum. As a group we aren’t getting the results we deserve but, as I’ve said before, if we keep doing things properly it will come.”
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