WREXHAM manager Denis Smith threw down the gauntlet to his players in the wake of Saturday's 2-2 Racecourse draw against Swindon Town.
The visitors came back from 2-0 down in the final 17 minutes of the match to grab a share of the points and deny the Red Dragons a moraleboosting win to take into another relegation battle at Bury tomorrow evening.
Asked how he would set about repairing the damage to his side's confidence ahead of the Gigg Lane clash, Smith said: "They'll have to lift me for the Bury game. I'm fed up of lifting them and it's time for them to start doing some work."
The comment was a measure of his frustration at dropping two vital points after goals from Craig Faulconbridge and Brian Carey had put the home side into the driving seat.
"The simple fact is that we should have won the game," he said. "We were one-up, we had a penalty and, fair enough, the 'keeper made a good save but we controlled the game. We then went two-up, with the first mistake their 'keeper made, and after that the game should have been all over and buried."
Swindon, who had started the game with three strikers, gambled at the end when boss Andy King further reinforced his front line and a disappointed Smith added: "They just went direct, put the big lad up front, and we couldn't handle it. We conceded two goals from being 2-0 ahead against a team which I felt didn't look like creating anything against us.
"That's disappointing and we've had other chances, when Faulconbridge hit the post and we had two headed off the line."
The Dragons' boss claimed that Eric Sabin had been offside in the build-up to Swindon's first goal, which came within a minute of Carey's firm header, but said he was not complaining.
"He looked offside to me but again it's the usual thing. I don't want to blame the officials as it should have been easy enough to deal with, because it was a dirty great clump down the middle of the field."
Wrexham's woes were completed when visiting captain Alan Reeves headed an added-time equaliser.
"I haven't got a clue where the referee got his five minutes from, but that's another story," said Smith.
"Nevertheless, we should have won the game. There are no ifs, no buts, we should have won. But we haven't, so at the moment I'm not particularly happy. We can't blame anybody and, while in previous games we might have been unlucky, today we were 2-0 up and we threw it away.
"We should have had three points in the bag and be going to Bury on Tuesday looking for another three and all at once the other teams down there are looking over their shoulders. Sooner or later we were going to put a decent run together and I can usually rely on my defenders but I don't think they actually dealt with things today."
Although King was unhappy with the performance of referee George Cain, Smith had no complaints.
"Referees are referees and you have to get on with it. There's no point in ranting and raving and George is one of those who lets a lot go," he said.
And on the penalty by Steve Thomas, Wrexham's fourth miss of the season, he added: "Fair play to Steve, he's hit it well so you have to give the 'keeper some credit.
"But even with missing the penalty, we should not have dropped two points today. I could have gone negative and stuck Dennis Lawrence on when they made their change but I thought we would be able to deal with it."