United were undone by another late goal on Saturday afternoon, with the players left feeling frustrated after they’d overcome a tough first half to become the team that looked more likely to go on and get the result.
“We gave another performance that deserved points,” manager Chris Beech said. “It’s really tough to take because we’ve conceded last-minute goals in our last two home games.
“It means it leaves us talking about another defeat. It hurts a little more losing in this way because it’s a massive punch in the jaw, two games in a row, and it leaves you with no time to do anything about it.
“All I can say about the second half is well done to the players for their efforts. We can be nastier to support us getting more from referees, but it is what it is.
“Even our goal, I’m sure there’s two, three maybe four handballs in that. I did ask the fourth official if he’d give a penalty if we didn’t score, and he said no. Omari’s about to tap home after great work from Ozzy, Jack Iredale pushes him in the back and it’s play on.
“If you get that at that point, you probably go on to win the game. like I’ve been saying for quite a while, and I’m trying my best not to have too much of a go at the refs or Mike Jones the referees’ boss. I’d like to think we’ll get some more rub of the green with the opportunities in front of us.”
Speaking more about the goals conceded, he commented: “They were very avoidable. It hurts when you concede like that, and particularly so late. It happened on Tuesday as well, it’s a double bubble.
“It’s actually a triple because we conceded in the last minute of the first half too. If you look probably since the turn of the year, we conceded a lot of goals, including Leyton’s, when we were almost scoring at the other end.
“All the opponent has done is whacked it and we’re making a mess of it. These situations are very avoidable, very frustrating and we need to stop it.
“I actually thought we were handling the threat well in the first half. We started brightly, but when it settled down they got their full backs out a bit too much for my liking.
“We were playing into the wind, so it was important to keep a lot of players behind the ball. Playing into the wind is difficult for every team who plays here, and it seems to increase by 20mph on every match day.
“They were huffing and puffing out wide and they did flash that ball across the face of goal, but I was really pleased with how Aaron Hayden and Rod McDonald handled Ironside. Ironside then ended up coming over to play on George Tanner’s shoulder because he was getting no change out of the centre halves.
“I thought if we could get to half time it would enable me to change and try and progress the team to get three points, but we conceded.”
And clean sheets had been seen a feature of the run which had taken the Cumbrians to the top of the pile at the turn of the year.
“Of course you want a clean sheet, that’s your best foundation,” he said. “If you don’t manage that, you need to score more.
“But we’ve given them their two goals when we didn’t need to. They’ve got good players and they’re in that rhythm and spirit. To be fair to Mark Bonner, he acknowledged our differences since the turn of the year.
“He’s the first manager to do that, he gains a lot of respect out of me for that, because there’s not too many that are. Most just want to squeeze you while you’re down. We deal with it and get on with it.
“We’ve been punched right on the nose, right at the end, and it’s very difficult not to be angry and frustrated.”
Having seen the lads drop to their haunches at the full time whistle, he told us: “They want to win. I think it’s because they give everything. If they didn’t, they’d be jogging off, not too bothered.
“But our players aren’t like that. I have noted a few comments in terms of what’s happening in and around the ground. The players do read social media. They’ve got to make sure we stick to giving everything. They deserved something and got nothing.
“They’re frustrated, but we train professionally, get ready, it’s brilliant. Keep doing that and it will turn. I’m very confident of what we’re doing and will continue to do it.
“I think the players have been working hard, I really do. I know sometimes I get criticised for supporting that, but it isn’t my job to ridicule players publicly, not when we’re in a situation like this.
“You can generally say what you want to them when you’re winning, but not when you’re losing. We’re in a really tough period and it is difficult for the players. If they apply themselves correctly and remove the individual errors that have been happening since the turn of the year, they’ll be fine, because a lot of teams are getting a lot out of nothing.
“You don’t coach those situations and they are very avoidable. We conceded again when we were trying to score, the same as against Leyton Orient. It’s not accepted but it’s happened, and it will happen to better teams than us at higher levels than us. I’m in charge of us and we need to stop it.”
“To be fair, and it’s hard to say this when you’ve lost, but I thought we were doing that against Cambridge,” he added. “They played their last three games with a diamond, so it was important to match them up and not allow Hoolahan to be a free man.
“Dean Furman kept him quite quiet in the first half which is why you saw him going out really wide to get on the ball. And we tried our best to manage the conditions. Normally we start the other way round, kicking at the Waterworks.
“You make changes to try and win a game, the players adapt, but we didn’t get what we want. We looked at their strengths, they’re very good at scoring off crosses. They got the ball in the box a bit too easy at times, but to be fair to my centre halves, they made sure Ironside and Mullin didn’t get a tap-in.
“Second half we got better chances in terms of those across goal passes, especially through Ozzy Zanala, but unfortunately we couldn’t get the contact.
“I’m delighted for Lewi Alessandra because he hasn’t scored since the Exeter game. He’s been a little indifferent, but always committed, so I’m delighted he’s got a goal.
“I’m not really delighted with what it’s done because it hasn’t affected the overall outcome of the game, which is what we want.”
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