Eastwood CFC manager Paul MacFarland says his team is still improving all the time but that getting the basics right could make all the difference as they continue to seek a first league win.
A mini-revival around Christmas saw Eastwood pick up three draws but recent defeats to Swanwick, Westella in the cup and to Mickleover RBL on Saturday have again highlighted where problems lie.
But MacFarland remains optimistic that wins could come before the end of the campaign.
He said: “Obviously everything is still geared towards preparing for next season as it’s been largely a learning curve for everyone this time around.
“But the squad is far more settled now and we’re a lot more competitive in games, which was far from the case two or three months ago.
“Our main problem seems to be silly mistakes that are costing us goals whilst at the other end missing good chances at key times that prove costly.”
That example was highlighted last Saturday as the Reds lost 4-1 at home to Mickleover RBL despite taking an early lead.
MacFarland added: “We started really well and went ahead with a diving header, but then we missed a great chance to make it 2-0 which would have really put us in control.
“Within five or six minutes we were behind, their second goal coming straight after the first when we lost concentration at the back and allowed them to nip in and score again.
“We create a lot of clear cut chances but aren’t scoring enough of them, something which we obviously need to improve on whilst at the same time cutting the errors out at the back.
“Against Westella in the cup last week we played really well and the turning point was a dubious penalty at 1-0 down which they scored to settle the game. The fact they went and won 12-1 in their next league game said a lot too.”
MacFarland also cited the recent weather problems as a reason for team cohesion not being as strong as it could be.
He added: “We’ve brought new faces in but because it’s been impossible to train properly the team is having to learn ‘on the go’ during games, which isn’t ideal.
“In pre-season you get six weeks to work with them but at the moment it’s a case of training when weather allows and then playing games.
“We often struggle with training venues too when our pitch isn’t up to it as everywhere is booked up, so end up having to just go for runs around town.
“I still think one win could galvanise us as the mentality will change. We’ve some tough games coming up but we tend to raise our game against the better sides before getting complacent against those lower down.
“A late winner off the post or someone’s backside might just be what we need!”
For details and photos from Saturday’s defeat to Mickleover, and of an upcoming charity fundraiser at Coronation Park, see page 38.