WREXHAM manager Dean Saunders bemoaned his side’s lack of punch up front after watching them go down 1-0 at Oxford United, the home team’s winner coming just 40 seconds from the end of four added minutes at the Kassam Stadium.
The Dragons were well on top in the second 45 minutes but failed to convert their chances and when goalkeeper Gunnar Neilsen suffered a thumb injury, his replacement Ashley Westwood was beaten in the dying stages by a header from James Constable.
“It was quite even and we didn’t look in any trouble, but in the second half we totally dominated the game and I just thought it was a matter of time before we scored,” said Saunders.
“But you are only as good as your strikers, no matter what team you have got and as you can see we are short at the minute. It’s as simple as that and I feel sorry for the players because we played really well and should have got something out of the game.
“They have been kicked where it hurts again for about the fourth or fifth time. I can’t ask for any more than that because they have worked hard. I’ve gone round the dressing room and said who has played well.
“I thought Ryan Flynn did really well; he’s not a striker but I had to use him up there today. But once again you are only as good as your front two and I know exactly what the problem is.
“The goalkeeper breaking his thumb just summed up the luck we are having at the minute. Ashley didn’t have anything to do, apart from trying to stop the ball when it went in off the underside of the crossbar, but if you don’t score there is always the chance of that happening.”
Defending his policy of not naming a goalkeeper among his substitutes the Racecourse boss added: “We’ve not had a goalkeeper on the bench for about five months and that gives you an extra sub, so you take a chance. Maybe if it had been a play-off semi-final I would have put a keeper on the bench.
“But Ashley didn’t have anything to do when he went in goal and they could not get out of their own half.
“I thought that was the best we have played for a while and we were just lacking that little bit of quality around the box. I thought we dominated it and I’m sick for the players. I have told them not to worry because I will resolve the problem. I know what the problem is and I’ll resolve it.
“Their front two looked dangerous today and at this level the two strikers are everything. Constable looked dangerous, but I believe we have been the better team against everyone we have played.
“I can’t fault any of them for their work, but these things happen in football. We have had a little spell of six games in which today’s was the only goal we have conceded in open play. We’ve looked tight at the back since the goalkeeper has arrived and we’ve defended really well.”
“I think we have conceded only nine goals in open play since I have been here. The rest have been free kicks or corners or daft goals. But I’m not going to beat myself up because I’m fed up of being beaten in the 94th minute and in fact I’m getting quite used to it.”