Iron manager Russ Wilcox was left ruing ‘individual errors’ after seeing his side slip to a 2-1 derby defeat against rivals Doncaster Rovers at Glanford Park on Saturday.The hosts had gone in front on 24 minutes when newly-recruited striker Rory Fallon registered his second goal in as many games, but found their advantage wiped out five minutes later as Rovers captain James Coppinger pounced from close range.
A further strike from Nathan Tyson early in the second half secured victory for Paul Dickov’s team, and Wilcox told The Iron Player: “It’s not down to luck, it’s about making the right choices and decisions – with and without the ball.
“We’re not doing that well enough. We’re not getting tight on people in the box when the ball comes in there, whether it’s first-phase, second-phase or third-phase.
“Their first goal is a third-phase goal; we dealt with the first bit, we’ve dealt well enough with the second bit to get it out of our box, but we’ve got to deal with the last bit.”
The fact Coppinger was given the time to pick his spot for the visitor’s opener proved a particular source of frustration for Wilcox, who added: “I’m not being funny, but if he’s scoring from there, on the turn, then he should be coming off injured.
“Somebody should be rattling right into him, because he shouldn’t be allowed to spin, and put the ball in our net. It’s about everybody doing their job individually, and then collectively we all benefit.
“If you cut out the two individual errors which cost us two goals we come away with a 1-0 win.”
United have now lost their last three league matches by a single goal, and Wilcox admitted: “That’s how fine it is at times; it’s small margins.
“We don’t score goals which people give us, but at this moment in time teams aren’t having to work hard enough to put the ball in our net. We’ve got to stop that.
“We’ve got to make sure the roles and responsibilities given before the game are done. It’s simple. We’ve got to be hard on each other because we don’t want to be in this situation.”
Those defensive concerns have seen the Iron concede 25 goals in their 11 League One fixtures so far this term, marking a stark contrast from the 2013/2014 campaign where the opposition were only allowed to strike on 44 occasions across the duration of the season.
As a former defender himself, that is something Wilcox is keen to address, as he added: “If we keep doing what we’re doing, which we have done most weeks – even in good performances – the goals against column doesn’t look good.
“You go through those goals, and there must be 90 per cent of them that we can stop. Whatever level you’re playing it, whether it’s non-league or Premiership, if you make individual errors or poor choices with the ball you get punished.
“We’re just wounded as a group, really, having lost to our rivals. We had a great opportunity to pick up three points after getting our noses in front, but it’s been taken away from us by cheap goals.”
See much more from Russ Wilcox, and others, on The Iron Player.