Neil Aspin was left frustrated with some questionable refereeing decisions at Prenton Park on Saturday afternoon, but the Vale boss admits that his side need to be more creative in the final third after they only registered one shot on target during the defeat to Tranmere Rovers.
Defensively, the Valiants looked resolute for large periods of the match, but a late James Norwood goal separated the teams come the final whistle. With Aspin’s men still searching for their first away victory of the season, the manager is eager to end a winless run on the road that stretches back to December 2017.
He said: “I’m well aware that our away record is poor and that it has been for a long time. I want to be standing here talking about us getting a win and I know everyone is frustrated - I’ll be the first to say we need to do better at times.
“I can’t fault the players’ efforts in terms of commitment today, I thought was good. However, we just didn’t make enough chances or put their goal under enough pressure until the last 10 minutes.
“Having said that, we should’ve got something from the game because we’ve had a clear penalty turned down. On three occasions in the same attack, the referee could’ve given us a penalty.
“You’ve got Mitch Clark going into the box and being brought down. We also had Tom Pope’s header at the back stick that definitely hit the player’s arm, and then Scott Quigley has nipped in front of his marker and that was a foul."
Despite the late rally for an equaliser, Aspin admitted that his players much use the ball much more efficiently when they are in possession. Having watched on as Vale offered little threat at the top end of the pitch, he is looking for improvement next time out.
Newport County travel to Vale Park on Saturday afternoon, and with two wins from two on home soil in Sky Bet League Two, the manager will be hoping the squad can bounce back with a win following a disappointing week on their travels.
He said: “I’m not pulling the wool over anybody’s eyes, we are not making enough chances and we’ve not tested the goalkeeper at all.
“We did get pushed back and I thought Tranmere started well to put us on the back foot, but when we’ve had possession we haven’t used it well enough.
“I think fans have every right to feel frustrated because they want to see a winning team, but I’m not providing them with that.
“As a manager, if you feel like the players are not putting in the effort and they’re not playing for you, then you have a problem. I don’t see that here, but I know we have to be better.
“Even though we’re not winning away from home, I don’t feel a negativity when we go out to train and I don’t sense it in the dressing room before the games.
“Every away fixture is tough in this league and unless you have a team that is a lot better than everyone else’s, you’ll find it hard to get points away. Despite that, we must improve.”