It can sound like excuses are being made, but a factor of recent games for United have been the number of key decisions which have gone against them, and the growing sense of frustration that feeling of injustice can bring.
The latest contentious decision came when a free kick was awarded right on the edge of the Carlisle box on Tuesday night, with the equaliser duly scored, when it appeared to all intents and purposes that a well-timed tackle had just been executed.
“I would suggest with what people who have played the incident back is that it wasn’t a foul, but who knows,” Chris Beech commented. “It has been frustrating recently because we’re not getting any of those decisions, when normally some of them would go your way.
“We’ve had penalties given and taken off us, players stopping our shots with hands or actually tipping it over the bar, and nothing is given and we play on, even though we know a big moment in our favour has been missed.
“It’s just the way it happens sometimes, but it is really frustrating when you work so hard to gain advantage in a game. Joe Riley was fouled in a similar position against Mansfield, nothing for it, and Ozzy Zanzala was pulled and blocked, and he gets nothing. It’s very, very frustrating.”
“I speak to Mike Jones, who’s the head of the referees, quite often,” he revealed. “I ask why we’ve been awarded a penalty and it’s turned into a corner, in the fog, and the linesman gets involved when he can’t see it.
“Look, it’s all ifs, buts and maybes. I ask him why when Rhys Bennett heads the ball and it hits the lad on his arm, and his arm’s above him in an unnatural position, that nothing is given or seen.
“Joe Riley had a volley against Tranmere flipped over the bar by a hand from a centre half, Jon Mellish’s shot at Colchester gets saved by an arm – these things are happening but they aren’t going our way at the moment.
“He does respond, but you tend to get those answers that don’t answer any questions, the ones that make sure it’s politically correct and almost written by a solicitor. All we can do is play better and try to beat refs as well.”
Having conceded the equaliser to a direct free kick in the midweek game, he told us: “There’s a case for doing things with a dead ball.
“If we’d got one where Mansfield got one the other night we’d have done the same, just hit it. But when it’s further out, and you have players who can strike the ball well, if you shift it by a couple of yards you move the wall out of the equation.
“We practice it, and we look for great power and hitting the target. It tends to work in training, but when it doesn’t come off for you in the game it can be frustrating. That’s how it happens sometimes.
“I’ve told the players if they don’t do it that way, that’s fine, just make sure they score. They’re in control of that decision and they’re trying to follow through on what we’re doing.
“We’ve shifted them in the past, Nick Anderton is an example, and we’ve scored from doing that. The whole point of shifting the ball is to remove the wall a yard, and then we want a clean strike, but what we’ve been doing after shifting it is rushing and getting a scruffy strike.
“If the lads strike the ball clean and have an easier shot, the wall’s been removed by two yards. They’re just not getting the strike right.
“But if anyone wants to come and watch us on a Friday do it, we score every one of them, so it’s something we do practice and by and large we get it right during those training sessions.”