Steven Pressley was left cursing a lack of clinical finishing by his Fleetwood Town side and insisted the point at Crewe was not good enough.
Town missed half a dozen second-half chances to seal victory at Gresty Road. David Ball, David Henen, Nick Haughton and Nathan Pond all went close but the match ended 1-1 .
Ball’s 11th-minute strike cancelled out Ryan Lowe’s opener – the result of sloppy Town defending – and Fleetwood were then unable to make their dominance count, meaning they go into Christmas just one point above the League One drop zone.
Town have taken just one point from their last two away fixture – they arguably should have won at Blackpool too – and manager Pressley said: “When you come away from home and you gain a point, people think that’s a good result, but for us that’s not a good result.
“The players feel the same as me – that we have to win these games.
“I thought in the opening 20 minutes we looked a little bit like a side that hadn’t played in a couple of weeks (the previous Saturday’s home match against Walsall having been rained off), and then we slowly and surely started to get to grips with the game.
“In the second half we were outstanding. We played the football I want, the level of press that I want and we countered at times with unbelievable speed.
“The players gave us the response in the second half but, like me, they are hugely disappointed because I think people can see we are a good team – but we’re very close to being a very good team.
“The difference between being a good team and a very good team is that when you have four good chances in the second half you have to convert them. We all know that.”
Henen missed an injury- time sitter following a second half bombardment of the Crewe goal.
That came after Haughton’s scuffed effort in a prime scoring position, an Eggert Jonsson header which hit the post and a Ball breakaway thwarted by Ben Garratt in the Crewe goal.
Converting just one of those chances would have made all the difference to a Fleetwood boss desperate to see his side climb away from danger. “‘Clinical’ is a great word for us,” said Pressley. “We need to be more clinical.
“If we’re clinical here, we go up the M6 with three points, no doubt about it.
“I keep saying we’re making good strides but these are games away from home that I want us to win.
“We don’t want to be satisfied with a draw –we want to win.”
Town’s sluggish start could have cost them dear. Lowe took full advantage when Nathan Pond, struggling with an irregular bounce, left the visitors exposed.
But Pressley was impressed with the way his side kept their cool and turned the game in their favour.
“There were lessons learned from Blackpool,” he said.
“When we lost the goal we didn’t become frantic and didn’t lose the things we continuously work towards.
“We actually began to grow into the game. Our response was very good, especially away from home.
“A point might be seen as good but we’re better than that.”
The equaliser was typical of the kind of counter-attacking game Pressley has pushed Town to play in recent weeks, Ball deservedly grabbing his second in as many games.
The striker’s improving form in front of goal is music to Pressley’s ears
“It was a brilliant counter-attack,” he said. “Bobby (Grant) played the pass at the correct time and the correct speed, and it’s a terrific finish.
“I’m really happy for Ball. I really like him as a player and the one thing I’ve asked of him is more goals.
“In the last couple he’s done that and it’s very pleasing.”
Fleetwood have another chance to take three points on the road when they travel to Micky Mellon’s struggling Shrewsbury on Boxing Day.