NORTH WALES CRUSADERS must ‘learn the lessons’ from their agonising defeat to Oldham, says head coach Anthony Murray.

Dominant for much of the League One fixture, the Wrexham club held a 14-0 advantage after 60 minutes before the Roughyeds ran in three late tries to snatch a 16-14 victory at the Queensway Stadium.

Murray was pleased with how his players acquitted themselves against a side expected to challenge for the title this term, but called for better game management.

He said: “To put so much into a game like that and to come away from it with nothing was cruel on us.

“I felt like we were clearly the better side for most of the game and that all the hard work the lads put in deserved more reward. We were in a strong position in the game before Oldham pulled it back to 14-10 and then we gave away an interception on 70 minutes which changed the game really.

“Oldham are a quality side and tipped by lots of people for the title this year. They showed their quality and were able to find another gear that took away all our momentum in the game. That’s what we’re going to be up against in a very tough league this year and we need to learn quickly that even small mistakes will be punished.”

A second successive defeat has underlined the scale of the task facing the Cru season.

But while the club may lack the financial resources of their rivals, Murray (right) is adamant his side are capable of challenging in the upper end of the division.

He added: “Despite the result - a lot of our play on Sunday was excellent and set the standards that we need to be at against the top teams. In really bad weather I thought we were virtually error-free for most of the game and our completion rate was nearing 80 per cent.

“I was speaking to Oldham’s coach (Scott Naylor) after the match and he was honest enough to say that they’d got out of jail late in the game. We came up just short, but hopefully we can channel this disappointment and use it as a motivation to improve.”