United were put on the back foot at the weekend when Lincoln City scored just 30 seconds after the first whistle blew in the FA Cup second round meeting at Sincil Bank.
Keeper Adam Collin spoke after the game about the frustration the close-range finish from striker Matt Rhead had brought with the team having focused in the lead up to kick off on the explosive start they expected from their hosts.
“We’re very disappointed to have lost but we made it hard for ourselves by going behind so early,” he said. “I thought we got ourselves back into the game and we were unlucky not to score before half time.
“The really disappointing thing is that we knew they were going to come at us, and that’s the frustrating thing about that goal. The last thing we said before we left the dressing room was that they were going to start on the front foot, so watch out for it.
“For us to know what they were going to be about, and not stop it, is really annoying for everybody.”
“We switched off and it was just a poor goal to concede,” he added. “It’s frustrating that we allowed their big number nine to get a tap-in inside the six-yard box.
“It’s something we need to look at because the first team to score at this level generally doesn’t lose the game.
“We’ve got to put this behind us now because we have some big league games coming up. The festive period is important for every team so we have to focus on that.”
Having created some good chances at the other end, as a team, he agreed that more frustration came from not having put at least one of them away.
“I had a couple of saves to make to keep us in it, but we created some really good chances,” he said. “Their keeper made saves and picked up man of the match, so that tells its own story.
“We know we need to put more of them away. It’s the FA Cup and we wanted to progress, and we feel we haven’t capitalised on the chances we created. That’s been the difference in the end.
“It’s another game we haven’t scored in, and we should have had three points at Notts County as well, if we’d only taken our chances in that game. That’s the main frustration because you can’t keep a clean sheet in every game you play, but you can score in every game. That’s what we need to be doing so that we turn the good football into wins.”
“It sums our season up that we’re playing well but we just aren’t being clinical enough,” he commented. “We seem to get punished as well, which is how this game goes.
“I think there’ll be a team who will get a good hiding off us soon. If we were playing badly and not creating chances that would be a real concern, but we are, so we have to build on it.
“If you look at the Lincoln game, we had good spells and we caused them problems, so we can take positives from it. We were camped in their half for long periods, but we just couldn’t put those chances away. All we can do now is push on to the league games.”
Speaking more about the positives to take from recent displays, he said: “We aren’t far off the play-offs, so we need to be professional and get ourselves ready for the games which are coming up.
“We’ve been playing good football all season and the downfall, as we keep saying, is that we aren’t finishing the chances off. We know the goals will come if we keep making the chances so it’s important that we keep playing our football.”
And on the need for the dressing room to be more vocal, he said: “As players we have to take responsibility and say our bit, but that comes from the management as well. They have to say what they think and we have to say our part.
“It can’t just be one thing dominating the other. There is experience in the dressing room, and players who know what needs to be said, but we do have some young lads in there, so you have to be careful how you go about it.”
With another string of good saves and blocks under his belt, he told us: “I am pleased with my own form, but I’d like a few more clean sheets.
“Having said that, the team winning games is the most important thing and that’s why our focus will be to push for the play-offs over Christmas.”
Next up for the Blues is a return to the stadium where he made his league debut just over nine years ago.
“We won 4-3 in that game, many moons ago, and it was a strange build up to it all, I seem to remember,” he said. “I didn’t know until we were just about to leave the hotel that I was going to be playing. Greg Abbott named the team, and I saw my name written on the board. It was straight into it after that and the rest is history.
“MK Dons away is never an easy place to go, but I think we can go there and definitely get something out of the game. They’ll play a different style to Lincoln, but we know what to expect. We’ll do our prep and we’ll be ready to deal with it.
“It’s Colchester the week after as well, so it’s a big four or five weeks. This is where the league sorts itself out and we want to do what’s needed to make sure we’re part of it.”
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