NO ONE was more disappointed by Wrexham’s last-gasp defeat at Grimsby Town on Tuesday than young defender Gareth Evans.
Thrust into the Dragons’ relegation battle because of an injury to Shaun Pejic, the 20-year-old Wrexham-born centre-back put in a battling performance at Blundell Park to no avail as the Mariners sealed a 2-1 victory thanks to Ciaran Toner’s winner in the third minute of added time.
The home side had trailed to Lee McEvilly’s goal midway through the first half, only to pull level in the final minute of the opening period through Paul Bolland’s equaliser, and Evans said it was a harsh lesson to learn.
“It’s devastating really but we conceded goals at the end of both halves, so it was probably down to a lack of concentration, which is hard to take,” he said.
“I don’t remember them having too many clear-cut chances expect one in the second half when their lad put one just wide and we had a bit of a goalmouth scramble just afterwards, but I thought we defended well for the majority of the game.
“That lack of concentration has cost us again because we lost to Stockport in similar circumstances a few weeks ago.
“When you are down at the bottom of the table everything seems to go against you. Now we have got to pick ourselves up again and look ahead to the next game.”
Evans welcomed the fact that neighbours Shrewsbury Town are the visitors to the Racecourse on Sunday, adding: “It’s another derby, which is good, because it’s like a cup game and form tends to go out of the window, as we saw against Chester last Sunday.
“We can’t allow ourselves to get too down and I’m looking forward to the game and hoping to get three points. I’m very disappointed at the moment but there is no point in dwelling on what’s happened. We have got to move on and try to do better next time.”
Dragons’ boss Brian Carey, who has now gone eight games without a win, claimed his side simply needed a break after matching their opponents for much of the evening.
“I knew we had a threat coming into the game, and after watching them last Saturday we stopped them playing to the extent they changed their shape after half an hour, although whether that was due to an injury or not I’m not sure,” he said.
“We set out our stall to stop them playing but we knew when we had the ball we had the people there to make chances, but it just didn’t work out for us.
“We could have won it on the chances but that’s the way things are going for us at the moment, we are just not having the run of the ball. We have to pick ourselves up now and go again on Sunday.
“The lads performed really well – they did exactly what we told them to do but they switched off a couple of times and you can’t afford to do that when you go out on the pitch.
“But Grimsby are a team who until recently could not buy a goal, and fair play to them they played some good stuff tonight. That’s the type of thing we need to be doing and if we can get back to winning ways, that’s what we’ll try to do.”
Carey admitted he was disappointed with both Grimsby goals and added: “From our point of view, I’m gutted but we have to take it on the chin and move on.
“It was unprofessional of us to concede goals at the end of both halves.
“ It was a cruel blow just before half time but we’ve got to do better from set-pieces.
“It was a terrible goal to concede and there was a free header in the box for the second.
“Apart from that I haven’t got any other complaints about their attitude or the way they went about their jobs.”
NEW signing Jeff Whitley played for an hour of Wrexham reserves’ 3-1 defeat at Accrington Stanley last night.
Wrexham took the lead straight from the kick off when Josh Johnson raced down the right wing and crossed for Jamie Reed to tap home. Ex-Cardiff striker Stuart Fleetwood netted twice for the hosts, with Andy Mangan scoring their third.