WAGGA City Wanderers coach Dave Leonard believes his players are coming to terms with being disappointed by the result but satisfied with performance after the club's latest loss.
The Wanderers fell 6-1 to third-placed Queanbeyan City at Gissing Oval on Saturday, and find themselves back on the bottom of the NPL Two table.
It has been a sharp fall from grace for the defending champions, who are fielding basically a new team this year after a large turnover of personnel from last season.
Leonard was not disappointed with the effort from his men on Saturday, but said the opposition were simply too good.
"It is what is is. They're quality," Leonard said.
"It's just disappointing, we go in at half-time at 2-0 down and the boys are up and about because they'd played really well and had really good opportunities, and the same in the second half, but they were clinical in the second half against us and we weren't.
"We created chances but it's that extra polish."
Mark Shields certainly had that polish, scoring four goals for the visitors.
Samson Lucas scored the Wanderers' lone goal during the second half, that momentarily had them back in the contest at 3-1 down.
"We went throughout the game where we had them under intense pressure. Even for them to be up 3-1, I think it was at that stage, and for them to be under real pressure was really pleasing," Leonard said.
"The boys were up and about. We had them under pressure but as I keep saying, it's just disappointing, talking to people who said the scoreline isn't reflective of the game and they've just got a bit better polish to their finishes. Some of their guys, their team is NPL One, they're just crazily good.
"It's unfortunate we just can't maintain that pressure."
MORE SPORT NEWS
With nine rounds remaining, Leonard maintains the Wanderers won't be shying away from the challenge.
He did admit, however, the team is learning to balance their disappointment with the scoreline with a realistic assessment of their performance.
"Again, it's really hard as a coach to say you were really pleased with the way the boys were playing when you look at the scoreline but I think, again, it's about being realistic about money spent, with what clubs have done and what we've done, we just want to develop our kids," Leonard said.
"I think from a group perspective, the guys have come to the realisation that they come off at the end of the game and still be disappointed with the result, because that's a natural thing, when you're a competitive team and the boys are definitely that but they've come to the point where they can say 'hey, we've given it every chance that we could, we need to be better in front of goals but we're creating chances'. And for them to come off and be positive about the game, not so much about the result, because that's always going to be disappointing."
Wanderers captain Robert Fry led from the front with a top game in goals, pulling off a number of brilliant saves.
Lucas, James Thomson, Luke Stevens and Avaro Kelechi also had good games in defeat.
The Wanderers will look to bounce back at home against Canberra White Eagles next week.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: