Notts County manager Neal Ardley was disappointed to see his side beaten by a set piece in their Vanarama National League opener.
In the season’s curtain-raiser, the Magpies lost 1-0 at Eastleigh, where Michael Doyle and debutant Damien McCrory were both given their matching orders with straight red cards.
And, speaking after the game, Ardley admitted he was frustrated to see an old Achilles heel prove to be Notts’ undoing.
“In the second half we were better and showed some quality and fight but I’m disappointed that we lost to a set piece,” said the boss.
“In the first half we were nervy and played into their hands but before the break we started to work a bit better and for the 30 minutes after the interval we took the game to them but lacked that end product.
“Did we do enough to score? Probably not in the end.”
McCrory’s dismissal seemed controversial at the time and, having watched the incident back, Ardley feels the wrong decision was made by referee Carl Brook.
“All we can do is appeal it because we shouldn’t have a guy missing for three games for that,” he said.
“I’ve just looked back at Doyle’s, though, and he deserved to be sent off. His arm was swung as the guy was running and I can’t complain about that one.
“We’ve got a ridiculous schedule of games and we need to manage the squad through that period – now we’re going to be an influential player short.”
Despite making seven additions to his playing staff this week, the gaffer feels his side still needs re-shaping in order to be prepared for the campaign.
“We haven’t got the power, strength or physicality to cope with this league at the moment,” admitted Ardley.
“We need to get up to speed in the next few weeks and add all of that quickly – we’re still two centre halves and a target man short.
“There’s no excuses, though. A lot of these boys have been with us throughout pre-season so they know what we have been working on.”