Wrexham’s Setanta Shield win at Altrincham on Tuesday evening did not save the players from an ear-bashing by manager Dean Saunders, who yesterday admitted to being annoyed that it needed an extra-time winner from Jefferson Louis to ensure the club’s place in today’s fourth round draw.
The Dragons, who were knocked out of the FA Cup by Eastwood Town the previous week, picked up £3,500 prize money for their Moss Lane success, but the Racecourse boss was unhappy that his side failed to build on Saturday’s Blue Square Premier victory over Lewes.
“I enjoyed watching Saturday’s game because we moved the ball well and might have scored eight or nine goals, but I cannot say the same of the match with Altrincham,” he said.
“In some ways I suppose it’s a good thing that I’m annoyed with a win because I’m not too sure that has been the case here for quite a long time now.
“At the end of the day a win is all that matters, but we have got to play better than we did and I have no intention of lowering the bar in terms of expectations.
“It was a scrappy game and Altrincham were hitting a lot of long balls, but I want to see us getting the ball down and playing better football instead of giving the ball away all the time.
“We are working every day on trying to improve in that department and while it is not going to happen overnight the players know we have a pattern to work to and they need to get better at it.”
Speaking immediately after the game on Tuesday evening, Saunders’ assistant Terry Darracott had hailed the performance of defender Ashley Westwood, claiming he was the outstanding player on the field.
And Saunders agreed that his defence had stood up well to Altrincham’s bombardment, notwithstanding the 54th minute goal by Alex Meechan that cancelled out the Marc Williams opener six minutes earlier.
“We looked tight at the back, which was encouraging, but the goal was not a good one from our point of view,” he added. “Nevertheless there’s something to build on and people here are now getting used to winning which is what the game is all about.
“Marc and Jeff are playing well together and they both scored on Tuesday. But I keep telling them that their goals are the reward they reap for working hard. They are on the end of everything the team does well but the flip side is that you don’t get something for nothing.
“Top strikers like Fernando Torres don’t just arrive at clubs like Liverpool, they have worked their way up to that level and that’s what my players have to aspire to as well.”
Loan defender Ritchie De Laet, who failed to reappear for the second half of Tuesday’s game, picked up a slight groin strain, but the Dragons boss is confident he will be fit for the next match at Weymouth on Saturday week.
“If it had been a league game, Ritchie would probably have been able to carry on,” he said. “He went back to his club, Stoke, for treatment today and hopefully there won’t be too much to worry about.”