The disappointment around the corridors of Brunton Park after last Tuesday’s away defeat at Stockport was palpable, but any questions that may have been raised internally or externally were most certainly answered with a performance everybody could be proud of against Tranmere.
“I think it was probably our best performance of the season, and listen, there was nothing fancy-dan about it,” manager Paul Simpson said. “It was doing the basics really well.
“We worked hard, competed, got on the end of second balls, we passed the ball better, put it into areas which gave Tranmere some problems, and what a fantastic start.
“That’s a big thing, the first goal’s so important in games. That sounds like stating the bleeding obvious, but it’s true.
“If you can get the first goal, especially against a team with an unbelievable home record, a crowd that get behind them, it gives you something to go off and hang onto.
“We were front foot, positive, it was brilliant to see and gives us something to really build on.”
“I think the main question we asked after Stockport was - what do you think we need to do differently,” he added. “I watched the game back on the coach and, on Wednesday morning, I went through very individual player’s clips.
“I had a real clear idea of where we were going wrong, but I wanted them to see it, to identify it and tell me and the rest of the staff, and each other.
“They did that, and it was a really good exercise. We’ve now set a standard with the way we’ve gone about it. I’m not daft enough to think that will happen every game, but for me, the work ethic, enthusiasm to go and run and close and press and tackle, that should be a given every single game.
“Now we’ve got to make sure we freshen them up this week so they have the same level of enthusiasm and energy to do it next week.”
Speaking about how pleasing it was to see such a collective response, he said: “I think it’s more about the response to the last four games that has really pleased me.
“The fact we’re on 27 points is huge. We’ve got to keep driving each other on, drive those standards, make sure everyone stays properly focused.
“If we’re talking about responses, well done Jayden Harris. It shows that everybody has to be ready. Even if you have had a disappointment on Tuesday, you’ve still got to be ready for the next one.
“The one thing you know about League Two football is that the games come thick and fast. If you have a bad one you’ve got to get ready for the next one. They come at you quickly and you have to do your bit.
“If you’ve had a good one you have to forget it and get on with having another good one the next time. That’s what all of them have to do now.
“They’ve earned a really good three points but I want to be in the second round of the FA Cup as well. There’s no taking anything for granted next weekend, and like I said on Thursday, it won’t change anything in terms of how we prepare.
“Tranmere have things to think about this week, but they’ve been consistent in how they’ve played in this last seven or eight games, so we just have to make sure that yet again we’re right.”