Runcorn Linnets manager Dave Wild insists there is nothing to worry about ahead of their clash with Mossley despite being winless in three.
Linnets remain in the Northern Premier League West playoffs but got their 2023 off to the worst start as they were beaten 4-2 by Witton Albion.
Jon Macken’s side raced into a two-goal lead before Wild’s side fought back before the hosts denied the comeback as Joe Duckworth added his second of the afternoon as Connor Hughes rounded off the scoring.
“Really frustrating, we were poor for 15 to 20 minutes which has allowed them to take a two-goal lead,” Wild told Off The Park.
“First goal totally against what we are, the second was an absolute worldie, sometimes you’ve just got to clap them in but we did really well, got ourselves back into the game, we were the stronger of the two teams to finish the first-half.
“We were certainly stronger of the two to open it but we completely undone ourselves in 90 seconds, like I said, it’s starting to go against what our makeup is really. It’s starting to become a frustration for us but it’s a long season, we were going to have a bit of a shake.
“The first is avoidable, the second goal is just one of them. The thing that’s bothered me the most is that we’ve got it back to 2-2 and to throw it away with individual errors and not closing space, it’s just left a bitter taste.”
Their recent run has saw them lose to City of Liverpool and Witton Albion as well as their last-gasp draw against Widnes before Christmas.
They remain in the playoffs four points off second-placed Leek Town and 11 away from league leaders Macclesfield.
This weekend, they entertain Mossley, a team they sit above by three points. Going into the game Runcorn’s current run poses some concern but not for the Linnets boss as he insists they have to return to doing the basics.
He said: “It’s one of them periods of the season, I wouldn’t say it’s going wrong, we’ve lost two, drawn one, I think a lot of people are getting themselves a bit giddy with it, we could lose the next five and win the next 15 and still finish second so it’s just one of them things.
“Look at every team from Manchester City to Bootle, look at Bootle, they were on a really poor run and turned it around and touching the playoffs again. Witton started the season slow but they’re now touching the playoffs, Mossley started well, had a wobble and are back in the playoffs.
“We’re just having a dip in performance and just a bit of lack of confidence, myself and the staff have to pick them up which we will. I’m not worried in any way shape or form, I’m not going to start ripping the rulebook up, we’ve got to stick to the basics, keeping clean sheets and being a team that’s very difficult to beat.
“We’ve let six goals in our last two games prior to the Christmas period I think we conceded two in six so it’s not just on the defence and the ‘keeper – without Tabs, we could’ve lost games heavier. We just have to get back to basics.
“At the end of the day, I was getting asked the other day how can we be getting beat off teams in the bottom half? Well, any team is difficult at this level of football, just look at some of the results over the Christmas period, it’s always a bit chaotic, it is what it is, I don’t think any game is easier and I think the proof is in the pudding with our results against City of Liverpool and Widnes. We’ll be okay.”
The reverse fixture came in the second game of the season which saw the Lillywhites run out 1-0 winners but much has changed since then.
But Wild is adamant his side have to keep going and not rest on their laurels as they return to the APEC Taxis Stadium for the first time since their defeat to the Purps.
“We’ve got to get back on the horse, keep training, get there and try get the job done,” he added.
“If we win, brilliant, if we lose we just have to try and assess and go again. I’ll keep saying it, I’m not throwing the toys out the pram, we’ll be absolutely fine as a group.
“Home, away, neutral, I always said it – even when we’re winning a lot – and I’ll say it now while we’re having an alleged wobble, we play the game to win whether it’s home or away.
“It’s not redemption or anything like that, it’s another three points, like it was against Macclesfield and people looking at me like I had 10 heads when I said that.
“The proof is in the pudding, you only get three points for beating Macclesfield and lose three points when you lose. We’ll be going into the game needing a performance which I’d like to think we will give, we’ve got to get on the bike, fix it and get moving.
“Our lads don’t need confidence, we know we’ll come through the alleged wobble. Most of the noise is outside, it’s never within, that’s fine, it’s part of the job and football. We’re alright, as a group we’re fine, we know what to do.”