North Wales Crusaders coach Anthony Murray has called on his side to find a cutting edge to their game.

The Wrexham club's 22-14 home reverse to Whitehaven on Sunday made it a fourth defeat in their last five League One outings.

Tries from Oliver Ashall-Bott and Kenny Baker were in vain for the Cru, whose play-off hopes appear to be fading fast.

The latest setback came despite another strong display from Murray's side, but a lack of end-product once again proved decisive.

Murray said: "That's been the case for most of the season now and we've ended up on the wrong side of a narrow defeat.

"I thought we worked really hard throughout the game and things were very evenly-matched between the two sides - as it was against Hunslet the week before.

"There's no question about the players' attitudes, workrate or their commitment - all of those things are 100 per cent as far as I'm concerned.

"Our tackling and general defensive play was excellent, but it felt like we invited some of that Whitehaven pressure onto ourselves at times.

"In terms of our build-up play, I feel like we are able to exert pressure ourselves but there needs to better execution in our sets to put more points on the board.

"We certainly need to be more clinical with our attacks - that means taking make more of the opportunities that come our way and making those opportunities count when we're on top in games.

"When Whitehaven went down to 12 men, that was our chance to take a bit more control in the game and step it up.

"Instead we lose Dale Bloomfield to a yellow card soon afterwards and no longer have that advantage.

"That was a clear opportunity for us to capitalise that we threw away because of a silly error and with some poor decision making."

The reduced 14-team format of the league this year has resulted in changes to the play-off structure.

With the league champions earning automatic promotion to the Championship, the sides finishing second to fifth will contest the other promotion spot.

Currently 10th in the standings, the Cru are now 11 points adrift of the top five places.

But with slender winning margins deciding many of the Cru's games this term, Murray is convinced that his ailing side's fortunes can be transformed.

"There are definitely improvements we can make and it's something we'll keep working hard on to bring into our game" he added.

"We can't be too hard on ourselves when we look at the types of teams we're going up against each week in this league.

"You have to bear in mind that the likes of Whitehaven and many other clubs have spent a lot more money than we have in assembling their teams.

"Despite that, we're pushing these teams all the way most weekends and there's no real gulf in quality between ourselves and most of the opposition.

"It feels to me like we're nearing the top of the mountain, but we can't quite find that final push to take us over the top top right now."