Knaresborough Town can’t afford to switch off if they want to challenge, insists Paul Stansfield
Paul Stansfield has warned his Knaresborough Town players that they cannot afford to switch off in games if they want to compete at the top end of the NCEL Premier this term.
The Manse Lane club kicked-off 2020/21 with a promising 2-1 home win over a strong Bridlington Town side, but failed to build on that result when they visited Hemsworth Miners Welfare on Saturday.
And, while the Boro boss was satisfied with his team’s overall performance, he was left to rue sloppiness at both ends of the pitch.
“It’s obviously disappointing to lose the game even though I thought we did okay on the whole. We were probably the better side and played the better football,” Stansfield said.
“But, we weren’t good enough at either end of the pitch. We failed to make that final pass and take our chances going forwards, while we’ve also switched off at the back and given away two poor goals.
“For their first, our last man has stepped out and tried to play offside and left their player with a clear run in on goal. Their second came from a ball into the box where we had three men all marking space, leaving their striker all on his own
“You can’t afford to do that if you want to win games of football consistently. You have to get the basics right.”
Having witnessed his charges outplay a Bridlington side whom he views as one of the favourites for the title last week, Stansfield was left encouraged about Boro’s prospects this term.
He does however concede that greater consistency will be required if they want to challenge the division's strongest teams.
“The really disappointing thing for us is that we beat a very strong Brid side in midweek, but couldn’t follow it up," he added.
“We set ourselves up to start the season with two wins out of two, then let ourselves down on Saturday.
“Hemsworth are a good side, they’ll do well this season, however I don’t think they’ll be up near the top of the table.
"At half-time we felt like the game was there for the taking, though you can’t legislate for individual mistakes.
“What we need is to be more consistent in terms of everything we do on the pitch, then the consistency in results will follow.”
Boro visit Barton Town on Saturday (3pm), with Stansfield hopeful of welcoming defender Sam Cook, midfielder Phil Milsom and striker Toby Harris back into his squad.
Barton currently sit 16th in the NCEL Premier table having begun the season in underwhelming fashion, losing two and drawing one of their first three matches.
They were thrashed 6-0 at Grimsby Borough on the opening day, then shipped four against Liversedge before playing out a 1-1 draw with Handsworth in midweek.