Exeter City manager Paul Tisdale pointed the finger of blame firmly at the feet of goalkeeper Artur Krysiak, whose error cost his side any chance of getting anything from their trip to Bury on Saturday.
The Grecians had been forced to defend for long spells, but fell behind when Chris Hussey’s free-kick slipped through the fingers of Krysiak and ended up in the net for the crucial first goal of the game.
Exeter’s Danny Coles was then sent off after collecting a second yellow card before Tom Soares finished off any faint hopes of an equaliser with the second goal in stoppage time.
“I’m most disappointed about their [first] goal,” Tisdale said after his team’s 2-0 League Two defeat at Gigg Lane. “The players have done particularly well over the last month and defended extremely well.
“We have defended well as a team and it is something we have focused on, but there have been too many games where we have conceded a goal from something quite soft. To concede that way after defending well and working so hard was particularly hurtful.
“They put us under a lot of pressure but, ironically, the goal came from something really soft, which has happened too many times in recent weeks and months.”
The City boss continued: “The players worked very hard, they were very committed and, at 0-0, I could see us having the chance to break away. So to concede a soft goal that took a deflection and went in too easily leaves us very disappointed. I don’t think Bury could believe their luck that the ball went in.”
The Grecians had been a distant second best in the first half, but fashioned the best chance of the game when Liam Sercombe was played in after a swift counter-attack. However, his shot was saved by goalkeeper Brian Jensen.
City’s only other shot on target came right at the end of the game when John O’Flynn fired straight at Jensen, which led to ironic cheers from Exeter’s travelling supporters, many of whom had long gone, so disappointed were they by City’s display.
“We had a good chance to score and I thought that a goal on the counter-attack was how we were going to score,” Tisdale added. “Bury put us under a lot of pressure, they spread out and passed the ball very well, but I really thought we could score through that type of play.
“The goalkeeper saved it, so it wasn’t exactly missing the chance, but we had a tough first 20 minutes and managed to hang on and it sort of crystallised our thoughts that we had to defend and we did it increasingly better as the game went on.
“I would like us to shoot and score more goals. We have to work the players and work to what they can do and I think we have played OK in the last month.
“We were up against a good side today, and it was a day for defending.
“It was hard to defend, really, they put us under a lot of pressure, but we have five games to go, we have to stick with the players we have got and the way we play and we are not going to change anything this late in the season.”
The City boss also had no complaints with Coles’ red card, which means he will miss the home League Two clash with Cheltenham Town on Saturday.
“The referee has to give what he sees and he clearly thought it was two yellow cards. So there we are. Them’s the rules,” he said.
“Clearly, he will miss the game on Saturday and that is something we will have to talk about and address during the week.”