Jacko's thoughts after the Colchester defeat
A damaging defeat against relegation rivals Colchester last night left Town manager Mike Jackson looking a desolate figure when he emerged to give an honest post match assessment to the assembled media. A 56th minute winner from Jabo Ibehre was enough to land a very precious three points for the Essex side who also hit the woodwork twice. Town’s best chance came early doors but Tom Eaves wasn’t up to the task of heading home unchallenged from close range, and Jackson would go on to say that the miss affected his side’s approach to the game.
“I’m disappointed because I thought we started the game really well,” he said. “But early on we’ve created a chance and we should score. We know where we are. We asked for a response after Bristol City and we got it against Wolves. We’ve got to do the same now against Bradford and need to win and do the same at Carlisle next Tuesday it’s as simple as that.”
Jackson was asked what goes through your mind when you see a chance like the one Eaves spurned go begging early in the match: “You’re disappointed because it’s happening time and time and time again,” said the manager.
“Sometimes things like that can knock the stuffing out of the players. We started the game well and they’ve come back at us with the set piece there, but we didn’t start the second half as I would have liked and we never got going. We conceded so I had to change things a little bit bringing Tom off and putting Boz on, and we’ve had a little bit of a go but not really created many chances. We’ve had some set plays but didn’t really do enough in the final third today. For effort and endeavour, yeah we’ve got that. But we’ve gone past that now – we need a little bit of quality as well. We’ve got that with Paul Parry and it’s all the time. We can’t keep relying on him, we need to see others stepping forward and giving us a bit more quality.”
It was pointed out to Jackson that maybe the performance was a snapshot of the season – lots of effort but an inability to put the ball into the net. And Jacko thought that was a reasonable assessment: “Yes I’d agree with that,” he said. “We’ve not created as many chances tonight as we did at Wolves but that was a different game. I think we created chances against Crawley and didn’t take them, against Coventry we didn’t take them and at Sheff U we didn’t deserve anything. Today?
Maybe, maybe we could have taken a point. But we can’t go away from here thinking we deserved to win the match because that would be kidding ourselves. That big chance in the first minute – if that goes in we’ve got a completely different game. It puts them on the back foot and it’s disappointing we’ve not taken that chance. We had other good opportunities through good spells of play but we fizzled out and I think you’re right – it has been a snapshot of our season. We’ve had a succession of loan after loan after loan after loan and it doesn’t bring any continuity. It’s no use us crying and moaning about it, we just have to stick together. It’s no good people splitting off and saying this, that or the other.”
Jackson was frustrated that the team didn’t retain the ball well enough: “We got caught offside too many times and when you’re putting the ball up there and you’re caught offside all the time, you’re not able to retain the ball and it keeps coming back at you,” said Jackson.
The Town supremo said he understood the frustrations of the Shrewsbury supporters (139 of whom travelled the 10 hour round trip journey): “Course I can understand their frustrations. They’ve come a long way tonight and we thank them for that and the lads aren’t deliberately trying to lose games. They’ve put a lot of fight and effort into the last few games and you can see that but tonight we’ve just come up short. We need to convert work and effort into winning and not just drawing. So yeah, I know the fans will be cursing and saying this, that and the other but again, all I ask is that they try and stay with us and we’re trying to do our best. But at the moment, and based on what we’ve seen tonight, that’s just not good enough to be honest.”
Jacko was asked if he needed another forward to bolster his side’s chances: “You find me one and I’ll go and get him,” he said. “Losing Miles Storey was a blow because he was able to get in behind defenders with some pace and we didn’t have that tonight and you need that away from home. We are looking everywhere for forwards and it’s not just going to happen overnight but something might happen at the end of the transfer window.
But we’ve been through 13 forwards this season – loan players. So although we’ve had 13, now they go down a different tier again. If we can find a forward and get him in; brilliant. We’ll be doing our very best to try and do that.”
Town’s gaffer feels that his team will need to win five of the remaining nine matches to have a realistic chance of retaining their L1 status: “We’ve had too many draws and we’ve not converted chances into wins. We have to start winning matches and taking our chances. The quality in the final third has to improve and we do have games against teams around us.”
Jackson was clearly disappointed still to be without the services of his two influential midfielders Aaron Wildig and Luke Summerfield.
The manager admitted that Summers had been sent away from the club for a week as, in his words, ‘it’s just not working.’ “It’s been three months now,” said Mike, “and although Aaron was in the other day, to try and get them up to the speed we require and with the tempo of the games where we’re at, it’s going to be a hard ask.”
Jacko ended his piece by saying that it was his job to get the players together and focus their attention on ending a 10 game winless run at the GM against Bradford on Saturday. “We’ll need to regroup on Thursday and it’s another massive game for us. We know what Bradford are all about so we’ve got to make sure we’re ready for them.”