TOM SHAW has vowed to help Chester bounce back after their ‘devastating’ loss against Woking.
The Blues – looking for one more win to secure their National League status for another year – led 2-1 with just five minutes to play against the struggling Cards, but inexplicably conceded twice late on to hand Garry Hill’s visitors all three points.
Midfielder Shaw, who returned to the side in midfield alongside skipper Luke George, admitted it was a difficult defeat to stomach.
“I’m absolutely gutted, it’s a devastating defeat,” he said.
“We scrapped and battled to get 2-1 in front, we deserved to be ahead. They started on the front foot, got the goal and were ahead, but then we’re just eight minutes from having 55 points.
“The season would be wrapped up then, we’d be safe. But we’ve shown we’re naive, we shouldn’t have even given them a chance or a half chance.
“It was a penalty, no complaints in that regard.
“We’ve got to manage the game better. It’s part of it that it’s poor game management. The best teams would have just booted the ball out or into the stands, see the game out.
“But we’ve been naive and it’s cost us, you’re going to have to defend at some stage when a team like that are on the attack. You’ve got to stand up and nod the balls away, we haven’t and I’m devastated and so are the lads.”
The Blues lie 16th in the table ahead of Saturday’s trip to Sutton United, and barring an unlikely set of results at the bottom, Chester should stay up given their four point gap to the drop zone.
“We’ve got to bounce back quick and make sure everything is in our hands going into the last game of the season,” the 31-year-old continued.
“Tactics go out of the window at the end and it’s just about being tough and resilient at that stage.
“We haven’t been in that last spell. We were for the vast majority of the game but we’ve let ourselves and the manager down and the management team, because we have to win from that position.”
Asked whether there is enough character in the dressing room to bounce back following four successive defeats inside nine days, Shaw responded: “We’ve got character, we’ve shown we definitely have character to bounce back.
“That’s what makes it hurt even more. We’ve had a right go and there’s enough in that dressing room, enough character and enough ability in there to get us the win we need.
“You can either feel sorry for yourselves, let it go down to the last day when everyone is nervous and edgey. Or you can go about your business professionally this week, get it wrapped up at Sutton, and then we can enjoy a day in the sun against Boreham Wood on the last day of the season.
“It’s been good to see the likes of Sam Hughes turn into a leader too, so not just myself or Luke (George). Sam now looks like someone who has played 300 games for Chester, he’s a leader and people are coming out of their shell. We’ve just got to find a way to win a game of football now.”
Jon McCarthy felt Woking's late winner was 'cruel' on Chester as they slumped to a seventh successive home defeat.
"I thought we produced a performance today and we're eight minutes away from the result we deserved," he said.
"The footballing gods weren't shining down on us. Football can be a very cruel game at times and we're really low in there. I think people will accept that as a performance but to come away with nothing, it hurts.
"It was an anxious, nervous first 20 minutes. But we had a good response, my players worked hard and in the second-half I felt we dominated the game."