Port Vale manager Darrell Clarke admitted to feeling frustrated with his side’s missed chances as their unbeaten run came to an end at relegated Grimsby.
The Valiants fell to a 1-0 defeat at Blundell Park, with Matt Green’s first-half goal proving enough for the hosts, who were sent down to non-league earlier in the week.
But the visitors had more than enough opportunities to snatch at least a point, with Devante Rodney hitting the post, while Nathan Smith had a header cleared off the line.
Clarke though knew his side’s luck wasn’t in and Cristian Montano’s late red card for a second booking compounded their frustrations.
“We didn’t take our chances. It’s a very, very frustrating afternoon for us,” Clarke said.
“I’m not going to be too critical of my players that’s for sure because they haven’t left anything out on the pitch, and if there’s a way to lose a game, you lose it giving absolutely everything, and we did that.
“I don’t think we’d have scored if we continued playing – a little bit of bad finishing, a little bit of bad luck as well, and it certainly wasn’t going to be our day today.
“I haven’t been chasing many games as manager, but if we’re going to roll the dice, I’d rather get beat two, three or four-nil if I’m honest.
“I put more forward-thinking players on – I have been unstuck by that, but that’s the way I like to approach it. We just couldn’t find that equaliser today.”
After a dismal season though, Grimsby at least ended their campaign at home with a victory.
The Mariners will be back in non-league next season, five years after making their way out of the National League, but for manager Paul Hurst, it was just a relief to have the luck going his way.
“Was it a game I really enjoyed? No. Have we played much better and lost or drawn? Absolutely,” Hurst said.
“But it’s nice to win a game still and get a clean sheet. You then go inside and hope it might have taken you off the bottom of the league, and it doesn’t.
“People might think it doesn’t mean a lot and maybe it doesn’t, but it would have been nice to move off the bottom.
“It’s a win and one that we had a little bit of luck in, when I wish that luck could have come a lot sooner – I genuinely don’t think we’ve had much since I came back to the club.
“I can’t comment on the season overall, but certainly since I came back. I’m sure there are some moments if I delved into it, but not many standout ones that’s for sure.”