Joint manager Steve Akrigg admitted that his Widnes side need to have a long look at themselves after being reduced to seven men in a narrow 1-0 defeat at home to Kidsgrove Athletic.
In a disastrous finish to the game, Widnes had Danny Ventre, Michael Grogan and skipper Kev Pollard sent off, and conceded an 88th-minute winner to Grove’s Pete Williams to seal victory for the visitors. Jay Roberts had already been dismissed early in the second half for a poor challenge on Kidsgrove’s Alex Lingard.
“From my point of view, it’s a frustrating loss but getting four lads sent off is an absolute embarrassment,” Akrigg said. “It’s like a game of FIFA. It’s ridiculous and it shouldn’t happen at any level. It doesn’t happen at Sunday League so it certainly shouldn’t happen here. The lads need to take a good look at themselves.
“It’s a total lack of discipline and you can’t tolerate that in football. We’ve had a difficult start to the season but regardless of how frustrated you are, you can’t let it get the better of you and that’s what happened tonight.”
Akrigg bemoaned his side’s lack of creativity, with Widnes now having scored only four league goals in five games – three of which came in last month’s win over Market Drayton Town.
He said: “I thought we did okay defensively and maintaining their threat but we didn’t create enough chances to win the game. Ben (Hodkinson) has had an early chance and put it over, but apart from that, we didn’t offer much more which is our problem at the moment.
“We’ve probably had more red cards than chances created in five games and from our point-of-view, it’s not good enough. We’re not too far away but sometimes you can take heart from creating chances even if you’re not scoring. That’s not happening at the minute which is worrying and if that means changing the personnel to improve, then that’s what we’ll do.
“One or two chances per game isn’t enough to win football matches. We can’t afford to defend for 90 minutes.”
Akrigg and co-boss Kev Towey will be demanding a reaction out of their players against Glossop North End on Saturday, with the Widnes joint-manager providing a blunt response when asked about what he is expecting from his players next time out.
“A performance. They haven’t given us a proper performance to date this season,” Akrigg admitted.
“We have a couple of good 45-minute displays in a couple games, but the lads haven’t produced a strong 90-minute performance yet.
“The lads need to have a good look at themselves but myself and Kev need to do the same because it’s on us as managers. It’s our job to put it right and that’s what we’ll aim to do.”