THE United goals-against column has seen three conceded beyond 90 minutes in the last three games and the frustration is clearly getting to manager Martin Ling.
A 3-2 home defeat to lowly Wimbledon on New Year’s Day was particularly painful after the Gulls had drawn level in the final minute through Rene Howe, only for man of the match Aaron Downes to concede a decisive penalty seconds later.
United originally went behind to a sloppy goal on five minutes before Lee Mansell grabbed a quick leveller, but another defensive lapse allowed the Dons to regain their lead, which they kept until the last-minute exchange of goals.
“Frustration is the word,” said Martin. “Even to come back and nick the point would have been some sort of reward but last-minute goals are killing us at the moment.
“Their first two goals were very poor defensively from us. Kevin Nicholson should get closer to the bloke crossing the ball for the first goal and Aaron Downes loses his man for the second one.
“We stick at it and grind away to get a point on a poor day, and on a poor pitch. We didn’t really open them up, we’re giving goals away too easy and last-minute goals have happened in the last three games.
“We have done things exactly the same this year as we did last year, when we finished fifth in the league and got to a play-off semi-final. We work on the same stuff in training.
“Obviously some of the players from last year are not here now and we didn’t concede late goals last year. It is rubbish to say it is fatigue or fitness because all the physical stats we take from the players are perfect.
“It is a mental thing at the moment. When it happens more than once, it’s in the back of your mind and we looked like getting out of jail with a late equaliser yesterday, but we still managed to throw it away.
“Downes has just been named man of the match, had a great game and then he lunges for a ball when he didn’t need to.”