Toolstation NCEL Division One
Mick O’Connell admits Harrogate Railway blew the chance to close the gap between them and the play-offs zone on Tuesday night.
Railway – who head to Cleator Moor Celtic in the FA Vase tomorrow – lost to Clipstone in midweek at Station View.
A third consecutive victory would have seen them go to within three points of the top five and O’Connell was left rueing the effects of the defeat.
“After the Hallam game which I thought we should have got something out of, we set them a target of 12 points out of the next four league games – maximum points,” O’Connell told Non League Yorkshire.
“I thought with the run of games we had I thought we could achieve that.
“We were on course to do that but for whatever reason we dropped our standards against Clipstone.
“We won’t shirk away from it, our goal this season is to reach the play-offs.
“We’re not going to win the league but anything can happen in football and once you get into the play-offs anything can happen.
“It is still the goal but (Clipstone) was a massive missed opportunity.
“We have dropped seven points at home and you can’t do that with the ambitions we have.
“We went to Worsbrough, 2-0 up and lost the game.
“1-0 up against Clipstone, lost the game.
“I’ve spoken to the players about consistency and good teams are consistent.”
Although Railway should have been awarded a second half penalty when the score was 2-1, O’Connell believed Clipstone deserved their win.
“It was a stonewall penalty for me but it is all ifs and buts, we probably lucky to come out of it with a 3-1 defeat,” he said.
“They hit the post and their centre-forward missed a couple of headers and we were second best all over.
“Credit to Clipstone, they came and really put us to the sword and done a proper job on us.
“It was a great start (with the opener) but even up to when we scored I wasn’t happy.
“We were sloppy and we weren’t on it and we didn’t have the intensity.”
Neither will O’Connell point the finger at the lengthy injury list.
“We still have five out – Josh Freeman, Danny Ward, Harry Clark, Mike Morris, not injured, but working and Aodhan Brownlee and one or two others,” he said.
“I don’t want to make excuses, but we are injury-hit.
“We are bare bones but the lads we have are good enough win these games and (Clipstone) was a missed opportunity.”