Having taken the lead in the 5th minute the manager expressed his disappointment at his team’s lack of composure and quality all over the pitch.
‘We should have killed the game off well before half time, that was very disappointing’ claimed the gaffer. ‘We had a number of excellent opportunities, we had a goal disallowed and Marlin should have had a second penalty. Mickleover should have been reduced to 10 men after about 15 minutes when their number 3 jumped into a tackle. He didn’t even get a yellow card and he probably should have got two reds, the tackle, if you can call it a tackle was an absolute disgrace. The same player then smashed Marlin from behind about 10 minutes later. I don’t wish to comment on the referee’s performance.’
‘We were excellent for the first 15-20 minutes and should have scored three or four but yet again we failed in the last third. We only played in patches and for some unknown reason we just can’t seem to retain possession of the football. We work extremely hard on retaining the ball in training and believe it or not we do it very well indeed but we are not taking that into the games with us. We are working hard defensively and the opposition are finding us very difficult to break down. Over the past few weeks I have adopted a more defensive approach to our game which has paid dividends but has definitely affected our opportunities to score on a more regular basis. I will be looking to address this and find some middle ground but unfortunately I can’t put the ball in the net for the forward players. We are making bad decisions in the final third and not taking care with our final ball or when we are shooting at goal. I continually ask players to get themselves in the box, find the corner of the net when shooting and make the keeper work but they don’t seem to be taking it onboard. This is something I need to deal with.’
‘We now have some very big games coming up and we need to continue to put points on the board. My target at the start of the season is to get to 35 points by Christmas which we have fell well short of, so we have a bit of catching up to do. The squad is very healthy at the minute but I am looking at one or two options that I think will improve us. We have managed to pull ourselves slightly away from the bottom four but I still think we need around 23 points from the remaining games to ensure our status in this division next season. January is a big month for us and come the start of February we will have a clear indication of where we might end up come April.’
‘May I take this opportunity on behalf of all the players and management to wish everyone connected with Ashton United Football Club a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. We have had a really difficult end to 2011 but with your continued support I am sure we will have a positive start to 2012.’