SWINDON Town manager Richie Wellens admits his side’s sloppy defensive errors are becoming ‘hard to take’ after Lincoln City scored two goals from three shots on target on Saturday.

The Imps struck twice in the first half after wayward clearances from Dion Conroy fell into the path of Jason Shackell and Shay McCartan, allowing the visitors – at the time playing with 10 men – to establish a two-goal lead.

Lincoln’s second sending off with 10 minutes played in the second half prompted Town to push forward in search of an equalising goal.

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While Wellens couldn’t fault Town’s desire and effort in the game’s concluding 35 minutes, he did admit poor defensive errors must be removed from his side’s performances if they are to launch a genuine play-off challenge.

He said: “When we’re on the front foot and we’re aggressive, we’re a good team.

“But, and I keep saying it, when the ball comes in our box we switch off and it seems that we get punished every time.

“We probably made two mistakes on Saturday – the first goal, with the header and the second goal, Dion Conroy doesn’t clear the ball properly.

“So, we’ve made two defensive mistakes and it costs us two goals.

“It’s hard to take – players don’t mean to make mistakes, I understand that. You’ve got to give them confidence to go out in the second half and try and get something from the game.”

On a more positive note, Wellens has been encouraged by Town’s improving fitness levels - underlined by their continued forward-thinking attitude up until the final whistle on Saturday.

Jak McCourt in particular proved himself a nuisance on the edge of the 18-yard box, with Wellens highlighting a positive opening half-an-hour on Saturday as something to build on ahead of Saturday’s trip to Tranmere.

He added: “If I came in (to the post-match press conference) and we’ve drawn 2-2 and we’ve only put them on the back foot a little bit and we’ve only made a few chances, then I’d be really disappointed.

“But it was attack against defence.

“Balls were flying into the box and chances are being made, so there’s nothing else you can be except positive.

“We’ve put the strongest team at this level on the back foot for the entire game.”