A hard one to take

It is, and the players are frustrated because we were in a winning position and Stafford scored so late on.

I told them I was happy with their performance.

They dug deep and battled hard even though everything was stacked against us.

I think it’s a good result in the circumstances and don’t forget Stafford came here off the back of beating Warrington last week.

What pleased you most?

There were good passages of play in the first-half when Osebi Abadaki beat their left-back and got himself in a dangerous position.

We’d talked before the game about linking in wide areas to get at their full-backs and the lads did that.

There was one great move between Tom Owens and Rob Hopley that deserved a goal.

If I’m going to be critical, it’s that we lacked a bit of composure once we’d made it into those areas and our decision-making needed to be better.

Should you have had a penalty while it was still 1-0?

How hasn’t the referee given a penalty for the foul on Tom? I really don’t know.

I’m not happy with him and I told him I was annoyed after the final whistle.

I was careful, and didn’t use foul language, but I let him know what I thought about some of the decisions he made.

Talk about the changes you had to make

It was always going to be tough because of the situation we were in anyway with injuries and work commitments.

We were thin on the ground and Danny McKenna pulled out after the warm-up.

Then we lost Matty Devine and we had another lad in Osebi who with hindsight we probably should have brought off.

We asked him and he wanted to stay on the field and grit his teeth.

When you’re watching it’s easy to say: ‘How come they’ve only got one guy on the bench?’

Look at the luck we’ve had, it’s incredible.

And of course you can’t then change the game pro-actively

No, and that’s so difficult.

What are we supposed to do? What can we change?

You can’t look at it and go: ‘We’d like to use that formation here’ because it simply isn’t an option.

Rob had to move into defence and we had a young player in a really tough predicament.

All we could do is pray that we had a bit of luck to get the result that we wanted and probably deserved.

What did you make of Ben Harrison’s debut?

He was absolutely outstanding.

He was commanding, he won headers, he talked to the guys next to him and showed composure while in possession.

His brain is one step ahead and so he smells danger early.

That works at the other end too; he was alert to be in the right place when Josh Wardle played a ball across the box.

You can see inside 90 minutes exactly why he’s playing at a higher level.

Are you likely to have anybody back for the weekend?

It’s probably too early to tell.

Anthony Gardner is closest, and we’re optimistic he’ll be available.

River Humphreys will be back too.

As for the other lads, we’ll just have to wait and see what [sports therapist] Carl [Rutter] says.