Lower Breck manager Gary Moore was left scratching his head as his side were beaten by Ashton Athletic.
Matthew Reid’s first-half free-kick proved to be difference as he rifled in from just outside the box inside 10 minutes.
After a slow opening 45, Breck cranked into gear and had a number of gilt-edged chances through the likes of Connor McCarthy, Harry Hagen and Nick Ryan but they couldn’t find the back of the net.
As a result, the Lower Breck manager was forced to rue their first-half showing. He told Off The Park: “Just a poor start, poor first-half, lack of composure, too many players taking too many touches. Second half we seen how good we can be, how we haven’t scored I’ll never know but ultimately the damage is done in the first-half.”
Their performance in the second half left the Breck boss having no complaints but their luck was clearly out as they couldn’t turn the ball home.
He added: “Plenty of them and the football was probably the best we’ve played this season to be honest with you. Listen, they done everything at half-time like we asked of them, they’ve come out and played how we asked them to from the first minute.
“Ultimately, it’s a poor goal, composure, we’ve given the ball away, the lads had a great run on it and brought him down on the edge of the box but the damage is done with the lack of composure in possession. What a strike though.
“It’s tough because at half-time, we said you’ve got to get out there and play football,” he continued discussing his half-time and full-time team-talks. “In the first-half, I don’t think we tried to link up two-touch football, I don’t think we seen any of it.
“It was slow down, five, six-touch, play for yourself, individuals type thing and we highlighted that. They’ve gone out there and shown a true account of themselves but ultimately, it’s not enough or good enough.
“We don’t help ourselves in that respect, it boils down to composure. You’re heading balls over a fence, the balls there just to knock back into play or a nice area and it’s a million miles an hour, the composure needs to be there – it should be there, they’re not stupid, they know what they’ve got to do. First-half lads are just playing bad balls, bad balls at the wrong times. It’s a hard one to put your finger on it.”
Prior to kick-off, they announced the arrivals of Billy Smart and Connor McCarthy from Marine and City of Liverpool, respectively, on dual-registration.
Both players managed 90 minutes, a first for Smart since May as he continued his rehabilitation from injury.
“They done well,” he said. “Especially for Billy, to come out and put in 90 minutes, don’t know how he’s going to feel tomorrow. Connor’s been playing football and he showed glimpses of what he’s about.
“He’d be gutted he didn’t score, he should’ve scored with a header. Billy’s put in a good performance, took a couple of kicks first-half.”
Joseph Smith made a handful of stops, the best of which coming from McCarthy after the Ashton goalkeeper got a strong left-hand to his deflected effort.
But Moore felt they didn’t test the shot-stopper enough, he continued: “That’s one thing we’ve always said, you’ve got to pull the trigger, a few lads there for whatever reason just not pulling the trigger.
“Second-half we’ve put the ball in the right areas, I think the goalkeeper’s made one good save but you’ve got to test him more. I think three or four chances have got to go in but they haven’t.”
For Lower Breck, they now have three games in six days with a trip to Longridge Town first.
The Ridge have started picking up points at the wrong time for Breck as they were left licking their wounds following a “massively missed opportunity” against Ashton.
He said: “There’s three games in six days, these are the games that can propel you up the table. Tonight has to be win to move you up there, you take that into Saturday, all the teams in and around, a couple of wins and you’re touching top five. It’s a disappointing result.
“Massively missed opportunity, take nothing away. We told the lads before the game, Ashton beat us last year, they’re bottom of the league but they’re not getting battered by anybody.
“The manager said at the end said ‘apologies but we had to beat somebody’, I think we done enough to get something out of the game, a draw at least. If we scored first-half, second-half we probably would’ve went on and done something but ultimately the damage is done first-half when you give a soft goal away.
“Tough, they’ve found a bit of form,” he added on Longridge. “They’ve won one, drew one of their last two, I think their number nine was struggling for goals, he’s found a goal or two. It’s going to be tough, they’ll look at that result and will be rubbing their hands thinking there’s another win for us.
“We’ll have to dust ourselves down, pointless sitting there dwelling on it and go Saturday. Got to dust ourselves down, big one away, let’s see if we can get a reaction.
“We’ve got to go win a game of football, that’s what you got to do. You’ve got to put in that second-half performance in for 90 minutes, that’s what the good teams do.”