Macclesfield Town manager Sol Campbell was buoyed by his team’s first-half performance as the Silkmen were held to a one-all draw with Colchester United on Saturday
Campbell’s side had dominated proceedings for the first period and were duly rewarded when Scott Wilson rifled home his ninth league goal of the season just before-half time.
However, a Frank Nouble penalty two minutes into the second period handed the visitors a share of the spoils.
“I think it was a game of two halves. We played really, really well in the first-half. We restricted them because obviously Colchester are a very fluid team, a mobile team and we restricted them to very few open-play scenarios.
“You can’t really allow them to get their play going and pass from the back, because that’s when they really start getting their players into the game.
“So we restricted them, got the goal and could have extended it, but it was a game of two halves.
“Second half, we were slow starters again. It’s not really what I’m looking for as a team. We’ve got to be really up for it. The first-half was excellent, but the second-half was too slow and they’ve got a penalty, another penalty which we’ve got to look at.”
The Silkmen only had one goal to show for their first-half supremacy, despite persistently peppering the Colchester box with a plethora of shots and crosses.
And Campbell was adamant that a second goal would have killed the game off.
“We needed another goal to put the tie to bed, but this league is very strange sometimes – it’s up and down. The main thing is that the first half was great but the second half wasn’t really where we should be.
“We should be up for it, switched on and I can say as much as I want in the changing room but ultimately it’s the players that need to go out and be ready and not be sleepy and not feel as though they can relax and take it easy.
“The second-half won’t be like the first-half of course, Colchester are going to go at us and try new things so we had to be ready for that, both as individuals and as a team.”
The striking partnership of Wilson and Harry Smith caused numerous problems for the Colchester defence as the duo combined sublimely to give Macclesfield the lead, and Campbell praised the pair for their contributions.
“I think for me it’s a nice kind of blend those two. They play really well together, and the link-up play is great. Obviously, they’re going to be a handful to any back four in the league. They’re two good guys in really good form and they’re enjoying football, which is the main thing. They’re working really hard.”
They say there is no better time to score in football than just before the half, and Wilson’s 44th minute strike was a welcome relief for the Silkmen faithful who believed that Macclesfield’s superiority wasn’t going to bare any fruit.
The boss insisted that even despite the goal, his half-time team talk was still going to be the same.
“It’s always a good time to score, just before half-time. It’s always a boost. But I think the main thing for us is that we’re getting the chances, we’re sticking some of them away but we’ve just got to tighten up all over the pitch really.
“Everyone’s got to be switched on from runners, one-twos around you and following the defender, following the midfielder and forward. We’ve got to get better at that as a team and start really working on that. That’s the small detail which is really going to make a difference for us.
“We’ve got to look at the small details, and that’s the kind of thing that is missing from our game as player-wise, just to look at the small details. We’ve got the bigger picture, but it’s just the small detail that we need to look after.
“Even if it was 0-0 I would have said it was a great half and we’ve been playing really well, we’ve been probing and we’ve been a little bit unlucky. We just had to keep it going.
“The chances will come, we’ve got to make sure we don’t go out thinking the game is nice and easy, and if it can happen then expect the unexpected.
“Yes, it changed a little bit but for me, it’s all about it being a 0-0 game for me. It’s how I like to go about my business and I said we’re winning 1-0 but it’s 0-0, and what I mean by that is the mentality is that we go again.
“Don’t relax, don’t let people drop off, don’t let people turn and start playing, which is what we did a little bit and that’s how the goal started, well how the goal came.
“We allowed one of the players to drop off who has not dropped off in the first-half and straight away he’s dropped off and started running on the ball, then obviously we got tangled and it’s a penalty.
“We needed that to wake up and I need to look at that and work out why it took us such a long time to wake up in them sort of scenarios, both individually and as a team.”
Campbell believes the lapse in concentration is an issue that can be fixed, but appreciates that they were up against a Colchester side that were going to execute any opportunity that came their way.
“He’s come across, it is what it is. It’s done. The main thing for me is the start and we’ve done so good in the first half by restricting their play and then in the second-half, we can’t be tired but we start letting people come off and start playing again.
“I can understand 70 to 80 minutes but not straight after the half and kind of letting people drop off. They’re a good team, and if you give them space they’re going to utilise it.
“They're a very good side, well drilled, with a couple of brilliant individuals as well especially going forward. They'll give anyone trouble.
“Especially the form they're in. The front players if you give them space that's what happens. If you don't give them space you have a chance and they recognise that.
“Once they know they have a chance, they're going to utilise it and put you under pressure. We have to realise that when you have guys like playing against you, you can't switch off.
“Definitely two points dropped for us. Colchester are a really good side, they're up there. But we had the opportunity to win today and we didn't take it. We're letting these games slip out of our hands because of individual and team mistakes.”
The Silkmen now face to away trips to Crawley Town and Bury respectively, with both fixtures posing a difficult task.
Campbell is adamant that although his side are without a win in four, the performances have deserved better and it is an aspect that they can build on moving forward.
“It's always difficult on the road. For us we have to regroup and go again. Today we played reasonably well in parts. But the teams on the road are going to be difficult but we're going to be up for it.
“We're going to prepare correctly and give it a go and I think that's what it's all about. Keep it going to the last second.
“Two points from twelve but you have to look at the opposition we've played as well. The main thing is the chances we've had, the opportunities we've had but we've not taken.
"The main thing is we didn't lose. We put points on the scoreboard so we just have to gain from that and go from there. It is what it is. It's a tight league. Where we were two and a half months ago is not where we are now. We're in a much better position mentality wise to compete.
"I don't think we were able to compete before I got here for whatever reason. The main thing now is that we've got a structure to give the team at least a fighting chance of staying up.
Saturday’s results saw the Silkmen remain one point away from safety, with Yeovil falling to a 3 - 0 defeat away to Forest Green Rovers.
And whilst Campbell acknowledges his team are in a much healthier position now than what they were before he joined the club, he insisted his side are still more determined than ever to start picking up results and move their way up the league table.
“It's coming. We're not taking anything for granted. We've still got a number of games to go. We just have to take every point and we'll fight tooth and nail to win every game.
“We've got enough games. We just have to get on a run, get some wins together. Good wins, good draws. The last two games were decent draws for us. Especially with the situation we were in against Crewe.
“And then today, I'm a little disappointed we didn't add to our advantage and allowed them to come back into the game. We had a few chances but it's going in the right direction.
“We have to maintain it, keep on working hard and don't let off. Don't drop off, keep it moving, don't think the job's done. You have to go all the way. I'll go all the way and i'll make sure the players go all the way.
“Hopefully we can get some wins at home and on the road and move up the table. It's tight. Two or three wins on the bounce and it can all change.”