ALISTAIR Smith admits he was left fuming after Colchester United's late defeat at Harrogate Town.

And the U's midfielder admits they must quickly learn the lessons of their painful defeat ahead of their important clash with Grimsby Town tomorrow night.

The U’s conceded a stoppage-time goal to lose 1-0 at the EnviroVent Stadium, ending a four-match unbeaten run under Danny Cowley.

Colchester were dominant in the first half against Harrogate but the hosts came back into the contest after the break and midfielder Smith knows they must perform for the entire match, if they are to move away from the League Two relegation zone.

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Smith said: “It’s a game that we’re all absolutely fuming with.

“It’s not something that we want to be associated with.

“I have a winning mentality and everyone in the dressing room does; it’s not one where we want people to feel sorry for us but one where we have to put the chances away.

“It’s something we need to clear from our minds quickly but learn from and then take it into Tuesday, get the win and get everyone back onside.

“Some of the performances that we’ve put into certain parts of games, if we put that into the full game I have no doubt that the wins will come and everyone will be right behind us.


“I’ve always grown up wanting to win and I think everyone wants to win.

“We’ve got so much ability and so much talent in this team and it’s so close to being so right.

“If we take the learnings from (Harrogate) and practise on the stuff that went wrong, then I think on Tuesday we can go into the game with our tails up.

“It’s a quick turnaround – in football throughout the season, you’ll score in the last minute and get some points and you’ll concede in the last minute.

“It’s bound to happen but it’s just down to us to reduce these opportunities that are happening for them, turn them into ours and turn it into points.”

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Jack Muldoon scored Harrogate’s winner in the second minute of stoppage time, after Colchester goalkeeper Owen Goodman had failed to hold onto Matty Daly’s strike.

However, Smith insists any focus should be on the U’s collectively, rather than their young keeper.

“We shouldn’t put all the pressure on a young goalkeeper who’s been outstanding for us,” said the on-loan Lincoln City midfielder.

“He’s a great keeper and he’s going to have a massive future.

“He’s learning and to put all of the pressure on him with that save at the end when we had 25 shots all together, it shouldn’t come down to that.

Gazette: Alistair Smith

“I know a lot of people are going to look at that and maybe point the finger at him but I think we should maybe look at ourselves."

Colchester had 20 shots on target in the first half at Harrogate but failed to capitalise, leaving the door open for Harrogate to claim victory.

Smith added: “That first 45 was one of the best that I’ve been involved in since I’ve been here.

“We really smashed it, we put so many passes together, we were comfortable on the ball and everyone was linking up really well, getting down the sides, creating chances and really exciting our fans who were right behind us the whole way.

“They probably went in at half-time and said ‘that can’t happen again’ after we had dominated and they’re going to come out firing.

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“Maybe they got a bit of momentum with a couple of good phases of play and chances; the crowd gets behind them and they get a bit of momentum which maybe forces us on the back foot a bit which is only going to invite pressure.

“We need to work on staying on the front foot, demanding the ball, staying high and being the dominating team but that reaction is always going to happen, after the first half.

“It was one of those games that you go away from thinking ‘how have we not got anything’ but I don’t believe in unlucky; you make your own luck.

“It’s as clear as day; you need to put your chances away, whilst you’re on top.

“There were positives, I’m not going to lie but if you don’t take your chances, then you’re never going to win the game.”