NEWPORT County AFC manager James Rowberry lamented the same old defensive howlers after the 2-0 defeat at Bradford City.
The Exiles headed to Valley Parade in good spirits after their Carabao Cup win at Luton but their wait for a League Two success goes on after they were downed by the Bantams.
Richie Smallwood smashed the hosts into the lead from distance after six minutes and then County defender Declan Drysdale was sent off in added time after a foul as the last man.
READ MORE: Match report
Bradford secured the spoils seven minutes after the restart when Harry Chapman danced into the box and then hit a shot that Nick Townsend allowed to sneak in.
First-half injuries to Aaron Wildig and Robbie Willmott added to County’s horror afternoon in Yorkshire.
“I am saying the same things every week. I am disappointed because they had three shots on target and we conceded two goals, I am disappointed with the injuries we suffered and I am disappointed with the sending off,” said Rowberry.
“I keep saying it – and I am going to get criticism for it – but we have got to be better in certain moments in the game when one-v-one defending.
“For the first goal nobody got up to the ball quick enough to stop it – it’s a great strike but we’ve got to affect Smallwood to put more pressure on – and for the second one he got through three players and we have to stop that ball going in the back of our net.
“We’ve got a lot to learn but I am convinced things will fall into place sooner rather than later.
“We are good enough to come to here and get a result – we have had just as many shots on goal as them and that is with 10 men.”
County, who drew at Sutton on opening weekend and then failed to make dominance count when beaten 1-0 by Walsall, now face a tough Tuesday day against Salford.
They will have to face them without Drysdale after he was dismissed for bringing down Andy Cook on the edge of the area after a heavy touch.
“The sending off changed the half-time team talk,” said Rowberry. “It was literally going to be about doing more of the same with a few tweaks, because we felt that we were getting joy in the game, and then getting a player sent off changed that.
“I am going to be biased and whether we appeal it or not I don’t know, we will have to see it close up.
“But it was down to our game management at that moment in time – we make it clear that at the start and finish of the half we play a certain way and we didn’t do that.
“That was not what we should be doing in that moment.”
County will assess the extent of the damage to Wildig and Willmott, who suffered muscle tightness.
The same applies for striker Offrande Zanzala after he wasn’t included because of an injury in training.
“Oz was precautionary,” said Rowberry. “If it was the last game of season he might have played.
“We have to be mindful that if he’s tight then with his explosiveness he could be out for six weeks. We have to manage it.”