A frustrated Danny Grainger felt a ‘lot of disappointment’ following the shock 3-0 defeat at Consett on Saturday.
Despite a positive performance in the opening half an hour, Consett ran away with the game when the visitors began to falter in vital departments as the Durham side scored three without Reds reply on the Belle View Stadium plastic pitch.
Grainger, taking charge of his fifth outing, gave his post-match thoughts, saying:
We’ve given nothing but plaudits since I started, so to be on the receiving end of a 3-0 defeat is hard to believe after how good we were in the opening half hour – it was probably the best we’ve played so far.
But sloppy mistakes invite pressure and if you don’t do the basics right, you get punished. Now we have to pick ourselves up and move forward.
The Durham outfit scored with their first genuine opportunity when, 40 yards out, Daniel Hawkins saw Jim Atkinson off his line, and with the help of the wind, the ball sailed into the back of the net.
However, Dav Symington appeared to be contentiously challenged in the build-up but the boss wasn’t for complaining about a possible foul.
It gives you a bit of a sucker blow and you’d get some of those in a league match and you wouldn’t get some so, as I said to Dav in there, it’s about protecting the ball and not letting the man get through it.
It was their first attempt on goal but we had chances to put ourselves in front and give ourselves comfort at times.
As I’ve said in there, the basic mistakes at the back can’t happen and we’ve got to start putting the ball in the back of the net, being more clinical in front of goal, so moving forward that’s something we’ve got to do.
Like last Tuesday at hometown Penrith, Grainger has the task of trying to lift the side trailing 1-0 at the interval as the team had again been ‘sloppy’ towards the end of the first half.
To be honest with you, I thought we played well for 30 minutes but then we got sloppy with things. We dropped the tempo, whether that was in passing or pressing so it was just trying to get that back up.
In the first 10 minutes of the second half, we probably did and had a few opportunities but our decision-making wasn’t right at times.
When Darren Holden’s superb solo effort beat Alex Mitchell in the Reds goal on 67 minutes, the manager expressed his disappointment with the drop in performance.
Once the second goal went in, we sort of took a step backwards and I didn’t like the look of that.
Full credit to Consett, who I thought were the better team in the second half by quite a long way.
On the 3G pitch, Grainger made no excuses, saying:
The rain just as we came out sort of helped us in that first half an hour, we moved the ball around at pace but then it dried out and slowed the game down which was a bit of a killer but there’s no excuses.
The surface is the same for both teams and they’re obviously more used but it’s just disappointing they’ve come away with the result.
In addition, two injuries came to further dampen the day, as forward pair Scott Allison and Kieran Maguire suffered respective knee knocks but Sam Smith and Nathan Waterston are in contention for Tuesday night’s match.
A return to one of the boss’ former teams in Gretna (where the 32-year-old broke through as a youngster and departed in 2008 when the club went bankrupt) is on the midweek horizon before a weekend off to end the month and Grainger remains assured preparation is still well on track ahead of the trip to Scotland.
Pre-season is there to iron out all the problems that we have, I’m not too disheartened.
We’ll bounce back from it, go to Gretna and the boys will then have a bit of a down week as we start looking to that first game of the season.
Kick-off at Raydale Park on Tuesday is 7:30pm.