ASSISTANT manager Gavin Fell believes individual errors have cost Blyth Spartans FC dearly in the opening eight games of their Blue Square North campaign.
It was the story of their season again on Saturday as Spartans created the better chances against Droylsden at Croft Park but still ended up losing 3-1.
Fell argues that all three goals were preventable and that the players are undoing the hard work they are putting in over the course of the game.
“The line between success and failure is so marginal. Our little mistakes are ultimately costing us goals and matches,” he said.
“That game was never a 3-1, but we had a spell of 15 minutes where we let ourselves down and that’s what has cost us.”
Blyth conceded first in a game for the seventh time this season and the result leaves them just one place above the relegation zone, but Fell knows that a victory in the next few games could reignite their season.
He said: “This is the time when we see what we’ve got character wise.
“We are only a couple of wins from being in the top ten, but it’s getting the first win that’s important and not giving ourselves a mountain to climb.”
Blyth were the better team in the opening period and Fell was pleased that the players took the instructions given out by himself and manger Steve Cuggy on board prior to kick-off.
“In the first half the game plan we adopted was to press high up the field and try and get them to make mistakes in the final third, and we created some good chances because we were getting the ball into the right areas,” he said.
After falling behind after the break Blyth responded well and were awarded a penalty which Phil Cave converted from the spot.
The hosts, however, shot themselves in the foot once more by conceding two goals in the space of three minutes.
Fell believes that Blyth’s poor defensive record cannot be attributed to their style of play but is instead down to concentration levels.
He said: “The goals that we have conceded are down to individual mistakes. It is not that we are overzealous and getting caught out.
“We look at our most vulnerable when we are attacking because we seem to feel that if the ball is in the opponent’s half then we can switch off from defensive duties, but this is the time we should be most switched on.”
Aside from sloppy mistakes, another feature of Blyth’s season so far has been injuries.
Shaun Vipond, pictured, suffered a broken leg against Droylsden and speaking straight after the game. Fell did not know the extent of the midfielder’s injury.
But he feels that missing Vipond for any period of time will be a blow to the team.
“His attitude is fantastic,” he said.
“He’s critical to that role in the midfield and he complements Hooksy (Neal Hooks) well and gets beyond the centre halves and is a big player for us.”
On the injury crisis in general, Fell does not feel that Blyth can use that as a reason for some poor results.
He said: “Injuries are injuries and I don’t want to make that an excuse because we should have a good enough squad to cater for them.
“They do take their toll but it’s a case of just getting on with it.”
n Match report on Page 79