Marcus Bignot admits Chester must start turning performances into points after suffering defeat in his first cross-border derby.
The Blues boss – just nine games into his spell at the Deva – watched his improving side dominate possession for long spells against bitter rivals Wrexham but couldn’t grab a vital equaliser and went down to a 1-0 defeat which leaves the Blues 22nd in the National League table.
Bignot was critical of his side’s inability to turn territorial dominance into clear-cut openings and says he’ll get ‘no plaudits for losing football matches’.
“When I reflect, I’ll look back on a good performance, but this is a results business and nights like this, in terms of how we do in the 18-yard boxes, are massive in terms of where we want to be and progress,” the 43-year-old said.
“Results are needed. I won’t get any plaudits for performances even though I think everyone will now agree about how far we’ve come in so little time but I’ll get no plaudits if we keep losing football matches.
“Football is cruel. If that was a boxing match and it went the distance, we’d have won on points.”
Blues centre-half Ryan Astles revealed post-match that he’d soldiered on with a badly injured ankle sustained after just 10 minutes and Bignot hailed the centre-back for a ‘collosal’ performance in the heart of the defence.
“I’m gutted for Ryan Astles that it was his man who has scored because Ryan has been superb, he’s distraught in there,” he said.
“He has a huge future here and he can certainly play in the Football League for me, it’ll be a lesson learned for him. He’s been a collosus, he shouldn’t have been out there in that second-half but he carried on regardless.
“But it’s a lesson learned for everybody really that a football match is sometimes won on what happens in both 18 yards boxes.
“What happens between the two 18s – we were better in those areas – doesn’t matter, it’s what happens in the box that matters.
“I think the fans saw a performance that didn’t deserve to lose a game of football, but being critical and I have been, to dominate the game for so long in possession in the right areas, in their half, to get into good opportunities, we’ve got to have the desire to create chances.
“We never created those chances today. We’ve hit the post, the crossbar, we’ve had a free header in the six yard box but we’ve not worked their keeper. That is the ruthlessness and the game has been decided on one incident in the 18-yard box where they’ve scored from a direct free-kick.
“Neither keeper has had anything to do and on another given day, we should be working the keeper more than we have done.”
The Blues had two strong penalty appeals turned down in their derby loss, with shouts for handball against Chris Holroyd waved away in the first-half, before Lathaniel Rowe-Turner was wrestled to the ground in the second period but referee Thomas Bramall opted to play-on.
“I’ll appeal for everything, but I don’t know (if they were),” Bignot continued.
“The lads are telling me it’s a blatant handball off Rowe-Turner’s header I believe so I will take my players word for it.
“It’s inches, fine lines but that’s the way it goes. This defeat means more though because of what it means to everybody.
“I’ve used a few choice words in there but it probably didn’t warrant it because of the performance.
“But that’s the ruthless and cruel side of football that sometimes the game are won and lost in both boxes and we lost it on one ball into our 18 yard box.”
Chester were dealt a huge blow in the first-half of the clash at the Deva with Reece Hall-Johnson pulling up sharply with a hamstring tear on 26 minutes and Bignot confirmed the on-loan Grimsby youngster is likely to be ruled out for between ‘six to eight weeks’.
“Reece gives us good dimensions in there but I thought Kingsley acquitted himself well,” he added. “It’s a hamstring so it’s looking like six to eight weeks which yes, it’s a massive blow.
“Paul Turnbull did well coming on too, kept the momentum going and didn’t disrupt our flow. But Reece’s loss is a massive blow no doubt.”
See full story in the Chester Leader