Gary Smith cut a clearly disappointed figure as he spoke to Boro Player after the Boxing Day defeat to Coventry City at the Lamex Stadium.
Lucas Akins had given Smith’s side the lead which they defended well until the dying embers of the game, for a few minutes it seemed the manager would have to settle for just a point but two goals in as many minutes even later on condemned his side to a home defeat.
On-loan striker David McGoldrick netted City’s third with a peach in time added on, and Smith admitted that despite his side playing well for large periods, it was McGoldrick who was the difference between the teams on the day.
“I think if we had stopped the game after an hour everybody would have been delighted, [there was] lots of endeavor, two sides that competed ever so well, some good moments form us and they certainly created some good moments as well, but I think if we look back on it then we’ll see that the difference was an absolute caliber performance from a striker who is really in-form and is certainly better than the level that he is playing at.
“In McGoldrick they’ve signed a player on loan for half the season, of course he is going back, but he has had such an impact to their side.”
Before all of that it was indeed Akins who had opened the scoring in the tie, a goal from the penalty spot after Filipe Morais was fouled in the area, but the former Tranmere Rovers man showed strong nerve after the referee ordered a retake for encroaching into the penalty box.
On the moment that the first penalty was chalked off, Smith said “I’m a little bit disappointed that the referee pulled it back; I understand he’s told one or two players not to encroach but they continued to do so and he’s pulled it straight back.
“He [Akins] did ever so well to slot it home and give us the lead and that’s all that we can ask for really but that second goal for us is becoming very elusive. We’re certainly not enough of a goal threat, there were still not enough moments and today it was really a story of not being able to link together enough quality play to get ourselves in good positions.”
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