Dave Challinor says he’s perplexed why his AFC Fylde side have such a poor record against the National League’s weakest sides.
The Coasters’ 2-1 defeat at already-relegated Braintree Town on Saturday means Challinor’s men have claimed just one win against sides in the bottom eight this season.
It’s quite an alarming record for a side fighting for promotion to League Two, and Challinor is struggling to identify why the problem exists.
“We’ve asked the question to the players because it’s something that is not lost on me,” the Fylde boss said.
“I suppose it’s always easy to look at a stat like that but the bigger thing for me is that during a lot of those games, we’ve been guilty of missing chances.
“If there is one positive it’s we don’t play one of the bottom eight for the rest of the season and we’re not going to play them in the play-offs.
“It’s something we’ll look at when the season has finished, but I think there’s an inconsistency in terms of seeing out games.
“The difference between the win at Gateshead on Tuesday and this game was significantly different in terms of the outcome and in terms of the performance.
“If I’m being critical, too many times we’ve gone in front away from home yet still not won.
“It’s not a time now for analysing results, but we’ll reflect on it and try to learn from it. We’ve got to move on.”
Braintree took an unlikely lead through Mo Sagaf’s first-half free-kick before doubling their lead 10 minutes from time courtesy of Courtney Richards, who tapped home after Korrey Henry’s penalty had been saved by Jay Lynch.
Fylde, who reduced arrears four minutes from time through Jordan Tunnicliffe, were denied a spot-kick of their own when Nick Haughton went sprawling in the box.
Instead of pointing to the penalty spot, referee Gary Parsons booked Haughton for simulation.
Reflecting on what was a disappointing day at the office for Fylde, who slip down to fifth, Challinor added: “Teams will set up differently against us, ultimately to try and stop us. We need to be intelligent enough on the pitch to find a way home.
“Otherwise we’ll have to end up changing our system and the way we play.
“But we’ve gone the other way and tried to keep our shape and play to how we want to play and let the other team worry about us.
“We weren’t really on the front foot in the first half, there was no real tempo to the game and we concede a poor goal.
“In terms of Nick’s appeal for a penalty, I don’t know. I don’t think it’s a dive, that’s for certain. Is it enough for a penalty? No.
“Their one, I’ve not seen what happened. There was initial calls from the dugout that it was outside the box but it was difficult for me to see.
“It’s pointless looking back, that 90 minutes has gone and we’ve not picked up any points, which is disappointing.
“It makes me angry, it’s an opportunity missed but it’s also important we move on. We can’t affect that 90 minutes.
“The way other results have gone, we’re virtually guaranteed a play-off place now but that doesn’t paper over the disappointment we have.
“We can’t get those 90 minutes back but what we can do is try and learn from it and to some degree make up for it next time we play.
“But we have to go and try get three points on Friday and that’s where our focus will be.”
The Coasters return to action on Good Friday when they welcome Barnet to Mill Farm before making the trip to Salford City on Monday.
Challinor’s men finish the league campaign with a home clash against FC Halifax Town.