Gary Forster remains a beacon of optimism in the wake of a bitter derby day defeat.
The Redcar boss admitted his side performed below their improving standards against their East Cleveland rivals, but shared no lasting concerns about the fallout from the defeat.
A derby as ill-tempered as any, Guisborough Town benefited from the second half dismissal of Anthony Bell in staging a dramatic turnaround.
Mason McNeill opened the scoring in favour of the bumper home crowd, slotting Donny Holdsworth’s smart lay-off into the far corner.
The Priorymen chipped away at the tiring ten men of Redcar, restoring parity with quarter of an hour to go through a James Frazer header, before snatching the spoils in the dying embers courtesy of a defensive error from an otherwise resolute Jack Norton.
With the mood amongst the Redcar camp somewhat despondent, Gary Forster proved saddened by the defeat – but not yet disheartened.
The first team coach acknowledged the Steelmen were far from the best on the evening, but declared their efforts following an unfortunate three-week hiatus faultless.
I think work rate and application was there from our lads, but I don’t think we played as well as what we’ve played in the last few weeks.
I think they were there for the taking. We probably deserved to win one-nil at half time, just with offering more threat.
They didn’t really hurt us, and they had the wind too.
I tried to change it up for the second half, go with a couple of wingers and put some pressure on them.
I just started to think, as the game was opening up, that we could go on to win this comfortably.
THE DECISIVE MOMENT
As tempers frayed and bookings mounted, an innocuous challenge between Nick Hood and James Sayer sparked a melee, and club captain Anthony Bell saw red for his actions.
The boss had no complaints over the dismissal, but questioned whether the incident – which proved a turning point in the contest – was dealt with in a fair and proper manner.
I don’t think Belly should have went and got involved, their lad would’ve been on a booking.
To be honest, the referees and the linesmen have got to realise that if one of your 17-year-old teammates is being throttled on the floor, it takes a lot of discipline and forethought to stop yourself from going and saying ‘get off him.’
So, maybe he shouldn’t have laid his hands on him by pulling him off, so fine, Belly gets sent off.
But you’ve got to look at what has actually caused that incident in the first place.
"WE GET BEAT AS A TEAM"
Facing a late Guisborough onslaught with a man disadvantage, it seemed inevitable for the Steelmen to buckle under insurmountable pressure.
Ironically, it was a rare mistake from an otherwise commendable Jack Norton which separated the two East Cleveland rivals come the final whistle, as the shot-stopper failed to catch Kurtis Howes’ in-swinging delivery.
Despite the lapse in concentration, Forster stood firmly behind his goalkeeper, adding that mistakes can be made across the field.
Jack is big enough to bounce back from that.
He’s had a great game to be fair. His distribution was good, his handling was good.
Like I say, if you put the ball in the right areas, then these things can happen.
Look, we win as a team, and we get beat as a team.
Like I say, there’s chances missed, there’s passes went astray.
There’s crosses that Jack has caught and dealt with.
It is what it is. I think we will bounce back from this, no probem.
NEXT UP AT GREEN LANE
With the turn of the year on the horizon, Redcar Athletic have one last hurrah on the hallowed turf at Green Lane.
In the second instalment of a festive double, title-favourites Shildon visit the Redcar seafront, so far invincible in the Northern League.
We hope to see you down the Lane, to close out a whirlwind of a year for the infant Steelmen.
Find out more: Redcar Athletic Fixture List