Cheltenham Town v Burton Albion - awful defending' has Yates fuming
MARK Yates was left to rue what he described as an "awful performance" from his back four as Cheltenham Town went down 3-1 at promotion rivals Burton Albion on Saturday.
The Robins started and finished the match well, but they gifted their hosts three goals, ruining any chance of a positive result at the most difficult ground to visit in League Two.
"We were great for 20 minutes although there was not enough end product, but the system was working and we were playing some good football," Yates said.
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"The home fans were just starting to have a moan because they weren't creating much, but then we let in three really soft goals.
"You can't do that against a team like this at home, who are in fine form.
"At 2-0 behind at half-time, I said to boys we could still get something out of it, but to concede after 48 minutes made things very difficult.
"We were in good possession almost in the final third, but two passes later the ball was headed in from a yard out.
It was awful defending and I think all of my back four were awful today and nobody came out with any credit."
Yates (inset) took young defender Michael Hector to one side after the game, with the Reading loanee enduring the most difficult match of his spell at Cheltenham so far.
"Michael has been brilliant for us, but I've told him his standards dropped slightly and we are a lot better than we showed defensively," Yates said.
"There is no point in me saying 'well done' because he is part of a first team unit who want to achieve something this season so he has to be more consistent.
"He wasn't atrocious, just not as good as he has been, but the whole back four were the same.
"Billy Jones gave the ball away more than he has before this season and Keith Lowe didn't get forward enough.
"Did Steve Elliott and Michael Hector dominate their centre forwards? No, they didn't do their jobs and we switched off and were found out unfortunately."
The one positive to come out of a disappointing afternoon for Cheltenham was Byron Harrison's impact as a half-time substitute and his first goal since arriving from AFC Wimbledon on January 31.
"I am delighted for Byron because he was excellent when he came on," Yates said.
"He competed well, won his headers, but played some good football too. He scored one and could have had a couple more.
"He is starting to look like a good player for us and we'll use him as we see fit."
Yates apologised to the healthy travelling contingent of Robins fans at the Pirelli Stadium, but he said Cheltenham must recover quickly ready for another key match in their promotion bid when Rotherham United visit the Abbey Business Stadium on Saturday.
"It was not what we wanted and the disappointment is that it's against a team near the top," he said.
"We are disappointed to concede three goals in the manner we did so I apologise to the fans and we know we have got to be better than that.
"I did think about changing personnel from the start and maybe I should have been braver, but we started well though so I felt justified until their calamitous goals have killed us and taken the game away from us."