PICKERING Town boss Denny Ingram was frustrated with his side's fortunes during Saturday's 3-2 defeat to Clitheroe - but will not accept any of his players "feeling sorry for themselves".

Goals from Sam Cable and Matty Turnbull put the Pikes 2-0 up, but Clitheroe got back into it with a spot kick before half-time and a close-range free kick with 20 minutes to go.

Jake Connelly netted the third to consign Pickering to their ninth defeat of the season and ensure they remain rooted to the foot of the Northern Premier League north/west division.

On his feelings after the game, Ingram said: "Disappointed really. Not with the players' attitude, commitment or desire or anything like that. I'm disappointed in the standard of refereeing. That cost us on Saturday.

"Every player gave 100 per cent. I can't fault them. We conceded one sloppy goal but, in my opinion, we would have won 2-1 without the officials. One decision five minutes before half-time gave a team who we had kept at bay really well a lift and the belief they could get back in the game.

"We had to regroup at half-time, we came out comfortable in the second half and created a couple of half-chances.

"Again, a refereeing decision gave them a soft free kick two yards outside the area where I think the referee bought some gamesmanship.

"I'll take responsibility for players not performing and criticise them when I need to do so.

"But on Saturday, that wasn't the case. It's something out of my hands. It's frustrating.

"For the third goal, fingers are being pointed and we have to take responsibility for that as a defensive unit.

"I thought it would have been harsh to draw the game so to come away with nothing leaves a bitter taste.

"As they say, when you're down at the bottom, if you get any luck, it's bad luck.

"But I'm not accepting anybody feeling sorry for themselves - nothing's going to change unless we change it for ourselves and that's the message I'm banging home."

Coming up on Saturday is home tie against Stocksbridge Park Steels in the FA Trophy - a competition that Pickering did fantastically in last season - and, practising what he preaches, Ingram is staying positive for it.

"We'll go out next week with confidence and look forward to a break from the league," he said.

"It's a chance to get some money in for the club. Let's hope we can get a run going.

"Every game is different. What we're looking for is consistency in performances and I'm very confident that if my players turn up week in, week out, it's only a matter of time before we turn a corner and kick on.

"Games of football can either kick-start something or continue a belief."

The Pikes made it agonisingly close to the first round of the Trophy last season, beaten by an 89th-minute goal in their third qualifying round replay at Ramsbottom United.

Asked if he would hope to do similarly well this term, Ingram said: "Regardless of the competition, you should be going out to win.

"But cups are different and you go out to give your all and hopefully be in the hat for the next round."

Leon Dawson, Joel Dixon (both hamstring), George Bissett (ankle), Ryan Blott (foot) and Brad Freer (anterior cruciate ligament) are all absent for the weekend. Danny Earl returns.

Niall Tilsley (bruised hip) played against Clitheroe "20 per cent fit," says Ingram. "His attitude is like somebody from 20 years ago where you played through injuries. He reminds me of a young me."

Ingram remains stoic in the face of the injury problems, however. He added: "If we've got to put square pegs in round holes, that's what we've got to do."