Harrogate Town won't play the blame game as they strive for consistency, insists captain Josh Falkingham
“Pointing fingers at individuals is something that we never have done and never will do at Harrogate Town.”
But, Sulphurites skipper Josh Falkingham insists that he and his team-mates are desperate to get better and will learn from the mistakes which cost them so dearly at Scunthorpe United.
Despite being the better side during the first half and dominating territorially for long periods of Saturday’s game, two lapses in concentration at the back gifted the Iron goals which would ultimately decide the contest.
“It’s so frustrating, we’ve been hit by two sucker-punches and then Scunthorpe have made it very difficult for us and gone on and managed the game quite comfortably,” Falkingham said.
“There wasn’t really a lot of quality in the match, but we know that if you make less mistakes than your opponent then most of the time you’re going to come away with the result.
“Nine times out of 10 in this division, if you make an error at the back or lose concentration, the ball is going in your net. The first two are poor goals to concede, the second one is very avoidable, but we don’t point fingers here.
“It’s not like we just think ‘oh well, there were mistakes but it doesn’t matter’ – we deal with them internally, however we win and lose as a collective. We’re all in it together.
“I know that every single person in that dressing room is desperate to win every game, desperate to keep learning, to keep getting better."
It is clear that if they are indeed to get better, then Town must become more consistent. For starters, they need to defend more regularly in the resolute fashion they showcased during last week's gritty 1-0 home win over title-chasing Carlisle United.
On Saturday, it was worryingly easy for Scunthorpe's Ryan Loft to stroll through a huge gap between Harrogate centre-halves Will Smith and Connor Hall before crossing for an unmarked Devarn Green, who even had time to take a touch before firing home the game's opening goal.
At times, the exact same defensive unit that had started their previous match looked almost unrecognisable from the one which protected their goal so effectively against Carlisle just four days earlier.
And what followed was even worse, a hopeful long punt over the top somehow catching out the entire Town back-four in first-half stoppage-time and leaving Loft with the simplest of finishes for 2-1.
At the other end of the field, the pace, movement and drive which saw them take Crawley apart in their own back yard earlier this month will serve them far better than the all-too-direct style of football they served up in a recent home reverse at the hands of Cheltenham, and in parts against the Iron.
“It feels like we’re taking two step forwards at the moment and then one back," Falkingham added.
"It is consistency that is the key to us making progress. We have to learn from our mistakes and try and be more consistent in everything that we do.
"There's the physical side of the game and the mental side. You have to get both of them right. I think there's a good energy about the squad and the lads want to try and pass the football and play our own game, but speaking as someone who is playing in the centre of the midfield every week, I can tell you it's hard sometimes with the way the pitches are at the moment.
"But, there are moments in games where, when we look back, we know we could have passed it better and done more with the ball.
"In terms of the other side of it, we have to have the same mentality in every game, whoever we are playing - a top team or one near the bottom. We have to be able to concentrate for 90 minutes and be willing to fight for every ball like our lives depend on it."
Falkingham and his Harrogate team-mates return to action on Tuesday night when they entertain Mansfield Town at the EnviroVent Stadium, 7pm kick-off.