City of Liverpool gaffer Michael Ellison has expressed his frustration after their narrow defeat to Northern Premier League West leaders Warrington Rylands.
Ellison accepted responsibility for getting the shape wrong in the opening 45 but felt Rylands’ first-half double was their own doing.
Jack Hazlehurst pulled a goal back for the Purps in the second half after a controversial penalty involving goalkeeper Graeme McCall and the City of Liverpool attacker.
They travel to Clitheroe this weekend and Ellison insists they have to put what they did in the second half against Rylands for the entirety if they are to come away from Lancashire with the points.
“Game of two halves. First half, they were the better team. I thought we were really poor, I set the team up wrong, I have to take responsibility, I made a mistake there,” he told Off The Park.
“But I don’t think that had any bearings on the two goals, set-piece in the first half which we spoke about, Rick Smith on the back post, to concede off that was disappointing. The penalty wasn’t a penalty.
“They had a chance to make it 3-0, if they do that it’s game over, they never. We got in at half-time changed the shape, I thought second half we were the better team, maybe they sat in to protect what they had which is understandable but I thought if we got a point out of the game it might’ve been a fair result over the course of 90 minutes but it wasn’t to be, too little too late.
“I don’t think you can give teams head starts especially when they’re the calibre of Rylands, they’re a good side and we give ourselves a mountain to climb and we couldn’t get to the top in the end.
“[Why he got the tactics wrong] The plan was to let them have it in certain areas. We had to come up with something with the lads that are missing.
“Earlier on in the season, we pressed them high, I felt if we done that they had players who could pass it through so I set it up a little bit different – not a new system, we’ve played it before, played it against Marine and done very, very well, played it against Linnets but we brought two lads in who maybe weren’t accustomed to it, maybe a little bit unfair on them so I take responsibility.
“You don’t get it right as a manager all the time, the way I set us up maybe sent a few mixed messages out to the lads. We addressed it at half time and you can talk about shape until the cows come home, ultimately if you haven’t got that desire to defend set pieces you’re going to concede goals and that’s been the problem for us this season.
“It is frustrating because we’ve matched a lot of sides this year. First half, if you looked at us you’d of thought we were poor. Second half, you’d of thought we were the better side but we’ve done that against Marine and lost 2-1, there was moments in the game but there was nothing in the game like a lot of the games against top sides but they find a way to win, we haven’t that’s why they’re top and we’re 10th.
“Always with us, whether we don’t give teams head starts. If we defend well, we’ve got a chance of winning the game. I’d like us to score more goals, the amount of possession and chances we have, we should score more.
“We’ve got to defend right and properly. If a team comes and scores a good goal against us, I’d be the first person to hold my hands up but not very many teams are cutting us open, the goals are avoidable. First of all, we have to defend well, if we can defend that hill well, stay in the game, I think we’ll have a chance of winning it.
“Again everything is how we are out of possession and that was the message against Rylands on Saturday, first half we were poor, second half we were good. A games over 90 not 45, we can’t turn it on like a tap, we’ve got to be at it for the majority of the game against good times, if you’re not ultimately along the line, the quality will tell.”