BUNDABERG Toyota Spirit coach Tony Roebuck has urged his players to keep their heads up despite suffering an agonising 1-0 home loss to Far North Queensland Bulls in their Queensland State league clash on Saturday.
A Jamie Carroll goal in the sixth minute was enough for the Bulls to return home with the three points, but the Spirit more than matched them in all departments for the remaining 89 minutes, but could not break through.
Luck was again not on their side, but also repeatedly their finish touches let them down, the Bulls' defence was unrelenting or their keeper was a brick wall.
"I don't think they created any more chances than us - in the second half alone, they had two chances to our about 20 and they were no better than us," Roebuck said.
"We will keep putting emphasis on the front third and finishing off our chances in the next few weeks. We're not getting reward for effort, but we cannot lose sight of things because it will come. We will just keep doing a lot of work on finishing in front of goal.
"We're playing good football and I'm not disappointed in the style we are playing. We're just not getting the results. We're that close, but unlucky but that's football."
David Hillier, principal of their major sponsor, Bundaberg Toyota, was pleased with their effort that he announced after the game that they would pay the draw bonus despite the loss.
Captain Brett Kitching again led magnificently and he did everything in his power to inspire the side, while, Roebuck said, John Brillante was also outstanding until he succumbed to a corked thigh 11 minutes from the end.
"Also big Adam Ormsby did quite well in his first game back after a brief stint in England," he said.
"Our defence was quite good, but the front third was the difference, but they (Bulls) got out of jail a bit to be honest. It just was never going to be our night. The ball did what it had to do to stay out of our net."
Roebuck said after two narrow losses, their home clash with Capricorn Cougars this Saturday night was now a must-win match.
"We are nearly there, but we have got to work hard again this week for what is the local derby," he said.
Central Coast Mariners recruit Brendan Griffin was ruled out of the match when he failed to overcome an ankle injury which he aggravated in a 2-1 loss to Queensland Academy of Sport six days earlier, and Roebuck said he could again be in doubt for the Cougars.
"Also Zac Freeburn pulled up a bit lame, but we hope he'll be right. We'll need all hands on deck to give us every chance," he said.
The Spirit Youth team also played their hearts out, but they had to settle for a 2-2 draw with Logan Strikers.