DEAN SAUNDERS admitted Wrexham’s defending from set-pieces against Eastbourne Borough was totally unacceptable.
Wrexham slumped to a 4-3 defeat following an action packed encounter at Priory Lane – their second successive reversal after they were beaten 3-0 by Forest Green on Tuesday.
Eastbourne’s opening two goals came from set-pieces and Saunders accepted Wrexham’s marking simply was not good enough.
“The amount of time I spend on it and we go over things, it is really disappointing,” he said. “We have never let three in since I have been here, and they are all set-plays.
“That is seven set-plays in a week, two penalties admittedly in that and one of our own throw-ins that we threw to them.
“I am really disappointed, but the boys have got to pick themselves up.
“It was a completely new back-four I put together, Marvin Andrews is obviously not 100 per cent fit so I took a chance playing him knowing that he might not get through the game.
“And then we lost Frank Sinclair at half-time with a groin injury which is a bit of a blow for us so things didn’t go our way today.”
Saunders, who also saw Wrexham score their opening two goals from set-pieces through midfielder Christian Smith and debutant centre-back Andrews, was at a loss to explain why his side had struggled to deal with balls into the area after the practice they had put in.
“The wind was howling down the pitch, I knew what to expect so I put Marvin and Christian in the team so we were a bit more physical and stronger to deal with that,” said Saunders.
“I thought we had enough to beat them and score past them, and to resist the set-plays and corners, that is why I did it.
“It doesn’t disguise the fact they scored the first goal from a free-kick. The lad has got in there and knocked it over the line so I was disappointed with that.
“We got a great goal back which we worked on in the morning, Christian scored with a great header.
“Then they got a long throw down in the corner and it is slung into the box, I don’t know whether the goalkeeper could have got it, but it is a free header anyway.
“I am shaking my head at that after going over it as much as we have. Then we go up the other end and score from a corner so there were four set-plays and it’s 2-2.
“Second half I am thinking if we keep a clean sheet we will win. Then the referee gives them an unbelievable penalty – but I should be used to it by now.”
Referee Rob Whitton awarded a penalty after goalkeeper Scott Shearer punched the ball against the arm Smith, who was unable to get out of the way.
Smith levelled at 3-3 with his second goal but Eastbourne were given a late second penalty, also for handball after Chris Blackburn handled, and assistant manager Brian Carey was sent to the stand for dissent.
Simon Weatherstone converted the spot-kick to secure a 4-3 victory, and Saunders slammed the decisions made by Whitton.
“Let’s be honest, the referee has absolutely killed us,” said Saunders. “He gave two penalties which are absolutely ridiculous.
“Scott has punched the ball into Christian, he just stood there and the ball has hit him. He can’t do anything about it, he has punched it into him.
“I don’t even think the referee saw it, he is just trying to get involved.
“Their lad has gone right through Andy Morrell, how it is not a penalty I don’t know. I am not trying to make excuses, we shouldn’t have conceded the two goals in the first half.
“Over a period of ten years things will probably even themselves but what I saw out there today I can’t do anything about with the decisions the referee made second half.”
Wrexham, who have lost two consecutive games following their opening day win over Cambridge United, will aim to get back on track against Kidderminster Harriers at The Racecourse tomorrow evening.
“We will go and work on the set-plays again, try and pick a team that is going to win and get them motivated and get some belief into them because they are a good group of players,” added Saunders.
“We will be going to try and get three points on the board and if we do, then we are going alright. It will be six points after four games, not what I wanted to have but we will be doing alright.”