Vale’s five-game unbeaten run came to an end on Boxing Day as Neil Aspin’s men fell to a slender defeat at home to Grimsby Town, and the gaffer was hugely frustrated following the match.
Wes Thomas’ second-half screamer was enough to settle the contest, but despite the result going against the Valiants, Aspin insists his side deserved more from it.
An improved second-half display saw Vale go close on a few occasions and Ben Whitfield also hit the woodwork with a viscous strike, but it wasn’t to be for Aspin’s men.
”It’s a real sickener today and I can’t really say anything else. It’s very frustrating because I thought we did a lot better in the second half and we deserved to win the game,” said the manager.
“To be standing here talking about losing the game is bitterly disappointing. We were having a good spell and we got caught with a sucker punch, but on another day the shot wouldn’t have gone in.
“Ben Whitfield made a big difference and he gave us a spark which is why I put him on, so we were doing well and enjoying a much better period in the game.
“Their goal then came from a breakaway and it’s a real kick in the teeth so everybody is disappointed, nobody more so than myself. We’ve got to keep going, working hard and fighting.
“The goal gave them something to hold onto and they defended well in terms of throwing their bodies in front of everything, it was a real battling performance by them.”
Being unable to score freely has proved to be a real issue for the Valiants during the Sky Bet League Two campaign so far, and Wednesday’s loss signalled another disappointing afternoon.
Aspin admits that his players didn’t play well enough during the first half, but he was encouraged by the second 45 minutes and he believes they were a slice of luck away from finding the net.
He said: “We just didn’t get our break in front of goal, and on a different day I’m sure we would’ve scored. We’re not scoring enough and I accept that, but there has been too many games where we’ve drawn a blank.
“I thought we looked like scoring today and we were more of a threat in the second half, so we’ve got to keep going.
“The recent games have shown that we need to be better and we need to strengthen - we will strive to do that, but everyone knows it’s difficult.
“I’m not one to give false promises or false hope, but we’ll try our best to improve things. No matter who we’re playing we have to work on our own team to try and get better.
“We have to look at our own game, and if we don’t get that right, it’s pointless thinking about the opposition.”