Bradford Park Avenue manager Mark Bower says it is key his side make their dominance pay off, after Southport came from behind to take all three points at the Horsfall on Monday.
Avenue went in front on 10 minutes as Adam Boyes netted his second in two games, but the home side failed to add a second despite being well on top in the opening stages.
However they handed Southport a lifeline as Andy White netted a scrappy goal on the half-hour, before Javan Vidal was shown a straight red card after the break and Gary Roberts netted an 89th minute winner to send Bradford home with nothing to show for their efforts.
“I thought we were very very good for the first 25 minutes,” Bower said.
“Given the way we were dominating the game, and how they couldn’t get out of their own half, we needed to be two in front.
“You’ve got to make that dominance pay because Southport are a good side and have some really good technical players who were always going to put us under pressure.
“It was a sloppy goal which we gave away but apart from that I never really thought that they had any clear cut chances.
“Then obviously the second half is defined by the red card, and if it is taken in isolation then you can probably see why the referee has sent Javan off.
“But when I see two tackles exactly the same by their players in the first half and the referee doesn’t even give a free kick, it just leaves you scratching your head a little bit.
“The referee gave strange decisions all night, he gives Adam Boyes a free kick when he is running through on goal and then doesn’t even book the lad, it was farcical really and the referee looked way out of his depth.
“If that kind of tackle that Jav has been sent off for has been outlawed from the game then fair enough, but it’s got to work both ways.
“One of their midfielders jumped in two-footed on Danny Boshell who came away with a huge gash in his leg, and he’s not even awarded us a free kick.
“It’s difficult to tell the players what to do when the same instances are being treated so differently, and as we found last season being a smaller club these decisions often go against us.”
Despite the result, there were plenty of positives to take from a decent Avenue showing against a recently-relegated side, and the Bradford boss acknowledged that.
“I thought it was a very even game with both sides having good spells,” Bower said.
“With the formation they played with three centre backs, we wanted to try and get our wide players on the ball and that’s why we moved OJ (Oli Johnson) out onto the left.
“He was starved of the ball a bit against Tamworth who also had three at the back, and we did get a bit more joy getting him on the ball in the wide areas on Monday night.
“Our wide areas worked really well, we scored a great goal but then the criticism is we needed to get a second.
“When you’re on top against the best teams in the league, you’ve got to punish them but we just couldn’t do that.
“Then obviously we’re disappointed with the goal we gave away because I thought if we get in at half time 1-0 up, we could have just addressed a few things and it might have been a different game.
“We knew we had a tough first week, and it certainly doesn’t get any easier on Saturday.”
Another recently relegated club are the visitors this weekend as York City arrive at the Horsfall Stadium, and Bower knows it’s going to be another tricky one.
“We know what to expect from York,” the Avenue boss said.
“They have players in their side who are proven at Conference level and above so it is going to be a really tough game.
“Hopefully there will be a big crowd in, and if the lads put in the same level of effort and play to the standard we played in the first 25 minutes on Monday, then we’ve got a chance of getting a result.
“Even with 10 men against Southport I thought we had some decent little openings.
“Boyesey worked his socks off for the team and worked some openings, then we got a corner late on which fell to (James) Knowlesey who on another day volleys that through the crowd and in.
“It was those fine margins the other night, but now we go into Saturday feeling positive and hopefully we can get a result.”
Avenue’s match against York on Saturday is strictly all-ticket. Tickets are available to purchase from the club on Thursday from 4pm until 6pm, and on Friday from 11am until 2pm. For more information, please click here.