BOSS Neil Aspin felt his side deserved better than the 4-0 scoreline at the end of yesterday’s FA Cup clash with Charlton at the Shay.
Town were just 1-0 down with 10 minutes remaining and most definitely still in the tie before Charlton bagged three late goals to book a place in round two.
And Aspin was delighted that his players had done so well against a side currently five points clear at the top of League One - 82 places above the Shaymen in the football pyramid.
“It is a cruel game,” admitted the boss. “If we had lost 1-0 it would have looked much better for the players.
“The scoreline 4-0 sounds a bit of a drubbing, but it was not like that.
“I wanted the players to do themselves justice and I feel they did that.
“I said all week we had to stay in the game as long as possible.
“Last week Charlton were 4-0 up at half time against Preston.
“If they score early and you are chasing the game it becomes a massive job to contain them.
“As long as it was 1-0 at half time we had a chance and the players can take a lot of credit from the performance.”
Charlton’s opening goal came just four minutes before the break and far from deflating the Shaymen appeared to spur them on.
And they had chances to level in an impressive second half, notably a Jamie Rainford shot that was pushed away by Charlton keeper John Sullivan.
“We did exceptionally well and if any team looked like scoring it was us,” said Aspin.
“But if you are going to win a cup tie as the underdogs you need the Jamie Rainford effort to go in.
“We were playing some good football, passing it and moving it, and you could tell Charlton were rattled.
“But we just couldn’t get the goal.
“The keeper pulled off a good save which might have changed it, but once it got to 2-0 we weren’t going to suddenly score two goals.
“It was like sticking a pin in a balloon - the second goal deflated everyone - it was game over.
“They knew it was in the bag and after that you are just waiting for the whistle.”
It was put to Aspin that his side had raised their game well above the level normally seen on a week to week basis.
But that was a notion he dismissed out of hand.
“I don’t think we played above ourselves,” he said. “That was how we are.
“We have footballers in defensive areas which might be a bit of gamble because they like to play.
“And from set pieces we might have been vulnerable because we lack a little bit of height.
“But if you can keep the ball, not give away free kicks and play in the opposition’s half then you don’t have to deal with too many dead ball kicks.
“Any game in front of a big crown with the adrenaline flowing, you get more running out of players.
“They showed what they can do.”
If conceding four goals was a blow, it was nothing compared to the late red card shown to Danny Lowe for a sliding challenge on Scott Wagstaff.
And it will mean another re-think in the centre of defence for Aspin.
“I have known anything like it,” he said. “I have not been able to get a settled defence out there.
“Suspension, lack of form, horrendous mistakes, we have had everything.
“We have had a run of having a settled back four and that will have to change again.”
As for the challenge and the card, Aspin disagreed with the validity neither.
“It looked a little bit dangerous,” he said. “The referee had a good view of it and I am not going to argue with the decision.
“Danny is not a malicious player and it was a short pass to him that saw him out of position.
“Maybe he shouldn’t have gone for it, but there is no criticism of him from me.”