The home side certainly had the better of the chances – Adam Morgan’s free-kick rattled the crossbar in the first half before Matty Kosylo missed the chance of the game fifteen minutes from closure – a glorious 1 v1 with Stockport’s Ben Hinchcliffe in which the winger coolly lofted the ball over the diving keeper but the ball bobbled the wrong side of the left post.
“We definitely deserved it, especially in the second half” said Roberts who spoke to Shaymen Player after the game. “Kossy had a great chance obviously and we had Liam Kings effort cleared off the line compared with Stockport who didn’t test us bar set pieces.”
After the fabulous display against Salford City last weekend, optimism around the stadium before the game was high, with many expecting ‘more of the same’ from the attacking front four of Kosylo, Morgan, Peniket and new signing Nti.
However, the game proved to be a different affair – with Stockport’s full backs Minhan and Duxbury frustrating the Town’s wingers and Peniket also struggled to get a foothold into the game.
Long balls up to the striker either bobbled off him or was intercepted instantly after Peniket could bring the ball down. Yesterday it was just the case of things not falling for the striker and was replaced by Tom Denton, who proved to be more effective when Billy Heath opted for a more direct approach in the second half.
The first half was a frustrating affair – with Roberts describing the half as being played at ‘100 mph’.
“We battled well in the first half but it was really frantic – both teams playing many loose balls and we just didn’t settle the ball down at all”, said Roberts, “The gaffer spoke to us at half-time and told us to calm down and don’t show them too much respect and we responded”.
The final 15 minutes was a tense affair for the travelling Stockport support (great turn out by the way) with the Shaymen piling the pressure on County’s goal. Roberts was adamant that the goal was coming, however despite the number of great opportunities the stats will show that Town failed to hit the target in the second half.
“We kept it tight at the back but it just wasn’t our day in front of goal – but it’s still a good point just disappointing that it we couldn’t get all three for our supporters” Roberts added.
With Tuesday nights fixture, away to Alfreton marking the end of January – the club has seen a real turn around in results and performance. New Year’s Day was a very low point in the season for supporters, players and media team alike. Questions were asked on the manager’s position and the club only appeared to be going in one direction.
A huge credit to Billy and the players for their attitude to dust off the criticism and show a real determination to fight for the play-offs – in a run which has seen us pick up 10 points out of a maximum of 12 against surrounding opposition, equally in pursuit of the chance of promotion.
“We can’t argue with the number of points we’ve picked up in the grand scheme of things. It wasn’t a poor performance today but the fans should come away from the game knowing that we should have won this game.”
From a defensive point of view, the result marks the end of Town’s hunt for a league clean sheet – the first since November, and Roberts now sets his eyes on keeping it that way.
“If you want to be successful you need clean sheets and we just haven’t been good defensively in recent times. Yes, we’ve been winning games but we’re still conceding (2-0 down against Salford for instance) and we’ve started games sloppy.”
“Today was different, we were on the front foot, at times poor on the ball but overall really pleased with that side of our performance. We were on the front foot today defensively, just lacked composure at times on the ball but really pleased with defensive performance today, we really restricted them in creating anything worthy from open play” said Roberts.
Dropping two points means the Shaymen slip to 7th in the league standings, however with the play-off positions just a point away and a game in hand over Darlington (who occupy the final spot), victory on Tuesday night is vital.
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