Bootle assistant manager Carl Macauley was disappointed with the performance in their draw with City of Liverpool.
Tom Peterson’s header with less than 25 minutes to go ensured that the Purps didn’t have bragging rights over their rivals.
Danny Mitchley sensationally gave Paul McNally’s side the lead in the opening stages but the tightly-contested derby clash.
On the balance of play, the hosts had the better opportunities with Mitchley squandering an effort from close-range and hitting the post during the battle.
Ben Hodkinson and substitute Andy Owens had chances either side of Jack McGowan rattling the post. However, the Bucks mustered a spell of dominance in the second-half but were susceptible to counter-attacks from City of Liverpool.
Despite their slow start, the assistant boss felt the result was the right one. He told Off The Park: “I thought it was a fair result, we didn’t get off to the best of starts again, might’ve been five to eight minutes inside the game and like the last game, we conceded too early and you’re always fighting, it’s an uphill battle.
“They’ve come here with a gameplan, try their best to get a result and fair play they got a result today. We needed a response, we didn’t engage the game for 45 minutes, rarely troubled their ‘keeper, didn’t really get into good positions and it’s not like us, the front four are usually effective in what they do.
“We had a chat with the group, we wanted a response, we got off to a good start in the first 10 minutes – started lively – then we done tactical changes, Andy Owens and Ben [Rydel] come on and change the game in terms of us being the better team in the second-half,” he added.
“I thought the big turning point of the game just as we were on form was the missed opportunity from them, Mitchley got through and blazed it over, maybe that was an opportunity if they would’ve scored that it would’ve been tough to come back.
“It give us a glimmer of hope from it and we did, Andy Owens was a menace then Tom Peterson does what he does best and in and around the six-yard box, he gets you goals.
“We got the goal, I thought we were on top but at that stage of the game, it was too open for us, we didn’t like what we were seeing and they had opportunities, Mitchley got in down the side, it didn’t go the way we wanted it to go, dictate and stay in control and it was too open, the lads know that.”
Steve McNulty made tactical tweaks throughout the contest and introduced Ben Rydel and Andy Owens midway through the second-half. Owens contributed for the equaliser as his flick-on was met by Peterson.
Macauley continued: “They were really bright off the counter-attack, we were trying to get the goal, bodies forward but it’s important when you do, you keep the discipline at the same, managing the game, keeping control and we didn’t, we were too open. They got the chances, coming off the pitch it was fair result.
“It’s always disappointing when you come off the pitch and you don’t win the game,” he said, describing his feelings post-match.
“You come to every game and try to get three points, we tried to do that today, we done what we could to get the three points and we weren’t at our best in the first-half but we’re always in it at 1-0 down.
“I always believe you get chances and then you look to the bench, you’ve got Andy Owens who strengthens us so we had to do that tactical change today – it worked – sometimes they go for you, sometimes they go against you.
“Ben [Hodkinson] was the match-winner and scored two unfortunately he came off because we couldn’t get him involved in the game. He took it on the chin, everyone doesn’t want to come off, but it’s tactical reasons we try and get a result.”
They have now taken 13 points from their last six games and sit fifth in the form table. Results on Monday mean they sit sixth away from the playoffs with their aspirations in tact.
The prospect of a relegation scrap isn’t entirely off the table with the gap still so narrow. Macauley insists that it is a good point and is something to build off ahead of a busy 2023.
He said: “It keeps the run going, we’re looking to continue getting results and a result is what we got, that’s positive from us. We’ve come from a goal down, that’s positive from us, a centre-forward scored so that’s another positive.
“We can only keep doing what we’re doing and trying to climb the table, it’s a big season, a long season, we can’t forget where we come from.
“We were down there in a relegation battle – we’re still not out of that relegation battle – and at the same time, we’re not far away from the top end of the table. We continue to work hard and continue to get results.”