Peters: Results against National League's struggling sides have cost us

Assistant boss Ryan Peters admits the Magpies haven’t had a problem raising their game for matches against the league’s ‘so-called bigger teams’, however, he admits their chances of competing for a play-off spot have been knocked off course a little by their results against the ‘so-called lesser’ sides.

In Monday's 2-2 draw Maidenhead went toe-to-toe with Wrexham, a side that has genuine aspirations of playing league football next season and has been in great form over the previous few weeks.

Time and again the Magpies have played well against the league’s big boys, with the recent results against Chesterfield (2-0), Torquay United (4-1) and Stockport County (2-2), cases in point. However, they’ve failed to maintain those levels against the likes of 21st placed King’s Lynn, who they could only draw 0-0 with on Saturday and 18th placed Weymouth, who’ve beaten them three times in all competitions this season.

Wrexham were unsettled by the Magpies’ combative play as well as the windy conditions which helped Sam Barratt launch the ball over Rob Lainton and into the back of the net from inside his own half after 15 minutes. James Comley added a second stunning goal before half-time and, although the Magpies let slip their two-goal advantage at the interval, this was another performance the players can take heart, confidence and encouragement from.

The 2-2 draw leaves them nine points adrift of the play-off spots, not an insurmountable gap with seven matches to play but, with a lengthening injury-list and hectic schedule of matches it seems unlikely they’ll catch the top seven sides now.
“We’ve never shirked our responsibilities when it’s come to playing the so-called bigger teams in this league,” he said.

“But it’s against the so-called lesser teams where we’ve fallen short on quite a few occasions and, unfortunately, that’s probably the difference between a team that finishes in the play-off places and one that finishes just outside it.
“Where we finish, we don’t yet know, but we’re looking for the highest possible finish and highest points tally we can get, and we’ll see where that takes us.

“We’ve got some injuries and it’s touch and go as to who will play where at the moment, but that’s no excuse and it’s the same for every club. But we’re also a part-time club and when you’re playing Saturday and Tuesday, you’ll pick up muscle injuries and some of the other clubs have an extra couple of days to work on players’ rehab. That’s why we made sure we had two players for every position this season but having said that we’ve still lost players at crucial times when we were going for the play-offs.

“But it’s not over yet and we’ll keep going until it’s mathematically impossible.”

Speaking at the final whistle Peters was keen to take the positives from a performance that was full of attacking intent.
“It was a great game to watch if you’re a neutral but tense if you’re on the sidelines wondering if they’re going to get an equaliser,” he said

“In many ways it was a tale of two halves. We scored two terrific goals to go two up, but we knew it would be a case of backs against the wall in the second half.

“I thought we dealt with that onslaught well but on their two goals we needed to be better collectively and if we had we might have come away with a better result.

“There were parts where we should have been better in the build up to their goals, but when you’re playing Saturday and then Monday, with the short turnaround and players out injured I thought we did well. The positives are that we looked more of a threat as an attacking team, but it would be nice to play that way and keep a clean sheet.”

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