Mike Flynn was left unhappy with the manner of the Exiles performance following the 2-1 defeat to Morecambe at the Globe Arena.
Kevin Ellison, so often a nemesis to the County side and a player specifically pinpointed by Flynn in the build-up to the game, made the clinical difference on Saturday, with two instinctive finishes inside the box.
The first of the 38-year old’s goals came on 35 minutes. It was somewhat unfortunate for Exiles goalkeeper Joe Day, who had expertly denied a long-range shot from Elliott Osborne and pushed it away from the goal, only to see Ellison react quickest and slide home the opener from an acute angle.
But the Exiles didn’t let the goal get them down for too long and retaliated within 90 seconds of the restart.
A Matty Dolan corner found Mickey Demetriou unmarked at the far-post, with the defender unselfishly squaring the ball for Scot Bennett to flick home at the near post after beating his marker.
The second-half saw the Exiles gradually begin to grow back into the game, only to be hit by a sucker-punch ten minutes from time.
Shrimps substitute Adam Campbell took the initial shot from 25 yards only for Ellison to get the smallest of touches to guide it on its way into the top corner.
And Flynn was left frustrated that the winger had such an impact on the game.
He said: “If they don’t know Kevin Ellison by now then they must have been living on the moon because he’s 38-years of age and he’s run the game again.
“He’s scored two, okay the second one was a deflection but you make your own luck in this world.
“It wasn’t just Kevin Ellison if I’m honest because they were better than us all over the park and it’s as simple as that really.”
The trip to Lancashire brought about a first defeat in three visits to the Globe Arena, with a result that saw the Exiles suffer just a second league defeat of the season.
And Flynn says the result may be the wake-up call that the Exiles need moving forward.
“It’s a reality check,” he added.
“People getting carried away? Maybe, I don’t think it’s that if I’m honest because I certainly haven’t been and neither have my staff.
“I didn’t see that coming – I’ve said in the past that we won’t win every game and that there are ways to lose games and it’s disappointing because that wasn’t one of them.”
Flynn has challenged his players to bounce back from the performance next weekend at home to Grimsby Town, insisting everything will be done in training this week to right the wrongs of the result.
He commented: “It was a performance that I don’t want to be associated with because that’s not what I’m about.
“Like I said, as a player, I never pulled out of a tackle so it’s frustrating that we pulled out of four or five today.
“I hate going back to last season, but in the Plymouth game which we lost 6-1, we were decent for a good 40 minutes until we conceded.
“We never stopped trying in that game either, to the point where we went and scored in the 93rd minute.
“I can handle defeats but it’s all about the way in which you lose a game of football. I thought Morecambe were here for the taking today and they’ve outplayed us.
“There was a lot of things wrong today but listen, it’s things to work on for sure. It’s down to them to put it right in training this week and hopefully win their shirts back.
“We have to go back to the drawing board and get ready for next Saturday because that’s going to be another tough test again.”
Flynn did, however, find a few positives from the trip to the North-West, including midfielder Ben Tozer making a first league start for the Exiles since January 7th.
“I thought Ben White was solid again,” he continued.
“Joe Day made some great saves, Dan Butler was excellent in the first-half.
“It was nice to see Ben Tozer getting 90 minutes under his belt, he was steady, won some headers, made some good passes as-well. His long throw-in was dangerous again which was pleasing to see.”
Joss Labadie and Mark O’Brien were the only players not to make the trip to Lancashire through their respective injuries.
The Exiles captain has a groin strain, while the defender remains side-lined with a foot complaint. And Flynn was unsure at this early stage as to their availability for next week.
He said: “We missed two characters in Joss Labadie and Mark O’Brien who would have been ideal in that game.
“Hopefully Joss and Mark will be back next weekend but at this moment in time, I honestly don’t know.”
The Exiles will look to continue their unbeaten home-record
vs Grimsby on Saturday.
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