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Monday, 28 July 2014

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Barrow AFC coach positive after cruel Wrexham defeat

ASHLEY Hoskin bemoaned Barrow AFC’s lack of killer instinct following last night’s ‘cruel’ 1-0 home defeat by table-topping Wrexham.

But he insists the Bluebirds will escape relegation if they can emulate their ‘magnificent’ display during the run-in.

While Wrexham shaded the opening half Barrow were clearly the better side after the break, even before Dragons midfielder Jay Harris was dismissed for his late 65th-minute challenge on Alex-Ray Harvey.

But after squandering a string of openings, with Harvey seeing his second-half strike cleared off the goal-line, substitute attacker Kevin Thornton broke Barrow hearts by rifling home Wrexham’s 84th-minute winner.

The demoralising, if unjust, outcome came on the back of Saturday’s 0-0 draw at relegation rivals Lincoln where poor finishing also saw Barrow surrender crucial points – much to the frustration of Dave Bayliss’s number two.

“It’s a very cruel game because there’s been times this year when we’ve not done our job and been punished, but last night we were magnificent from, one to 11, against a very good side,” said Hoskin.

“We’ve got into the lads’ heads that they’re not bad footballers and if we can get the ball down it will only help us, especially at home on our big pitch.

“We’ve gone with the two wide players and the midfield have come good, but the end result is so disappointing.

“I’ve told the players, ‘look, you can’t afford to get your heads down, keep doing what you’re doing and results will surely change’.

“But on the negative side, we’ve got to be a bit better in the final third.

“We created chances, just as we did on Saturday, and if Wrexham had created those chances we might have got a hiding. We can’t keep missing the chances we create.

“Dave said that in the five years he’s been a manager at this level he’s never seen a team go away from home, dominate so much and not win the game (referring to the Lincoln draw).

“And last night, the lads were fantastic against a top team as we got amongst them and stopped them playing. That doesn’t get you any points but Wrexham’s manager told me ‘I can’t believe where you are in the table’ and the Lincoln manager said the same thing.

“But we are where we are, so we’ve got to get our heads up and bat on.”

Thornton netted the winner with a clinical angled finish but Hoskin was also left frustrated over how the ball ended up at the feet of the former Coventry man.

“I have a great saying that goes, ‘if the ball goes dead, you need to come alive’.

“We went ‘dead’ from a throw-in in our half, and I think three passes later, albeit including a deflection, the ball’s in the back of our net – absolute killer.”

But Hoskin was still buoyed by Barrow’s positive overall performance and remains convinced that they will beat the drop especially after their closest relegation rivals failed to capitalise on their latest hiccup last night.

As Barrow turn their attention to Saturday’s home game with mid-table Tamworth, Hoskin said: “I think it’s a measure of what we did that the lads got clapped off,” said Hoskin.

“We only ask them to put a shift in and give 100 per cent. There will be times when teams come here and don’t deserve to win and do, and there will be other times when we don’t perform and we get beat. But you can’t fault the lads and the fans were fantastic in clapping us off at the end.

“If we perform against other teams like that as well as how we did against the likes of Luton and Newport then we’ll pick up points.

“All the other results have gone for us, so the downside is that if we had won the game we would have been out of the relegation zone. But everybody saw the positives and if we keep doing what we’re doing, I’m sure we will be okay.”

Hoskin also revealed that Barrow’s star striker Adam Boyes is struggling to be fit for Saturday’s clash against Tamworth, as he continues his recovery from a calf injury.

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