FRUSTRATING and encouraging in equal measure is the analysis of skipper Matt Hughes on Kirkby Lonsdale’s nail-biting defeat at Birkenhead Park.

Kirkby are one of only two teams to beat the high-flying Merseyside outfit this season and came very close to repeating the feat at Upper Park at the weekend.

And having suffered a similar fate in their last away game at table-topping Wirral, Hughes – who was absent from the matchday squad – would like to see the back of away day blues.

“We were winning with only minutes to go and a late penalty has won the game,” he said.

“To come so close is disappointing but it’s good we’re disappointed – it’s not a case of being happy with the bonus point, we’re upset we missed out on the other three.

“We’ve now come close to beating both Wirral and Birkenhead Park away from home but have only come away with a bonus point on both occasions.

“And it’s happening too often now. We’re getting there or thereabouts yet still coming out on the wrong end of the result.

“It’s something we’re putting right at home but we need to put it right on the road as well.”

Kirkby had a number absentees to contend with against Birkenhead Park although Hughes believes the overall performance of the side was positive, especially the back division.

“We were missing a few players through injury and other reasons but from speaking to the lads the all-round performance was pleasing,” he added.

“We knew Birkenhead Park have a good pack but the forwards fronted up massively and made life difficult.

“By all accounts our backs were a class above theirs but we just struggled to get enough ball to them.

“Generally though, all the lads got stuck in and had a very good game.”

Hughes is available for selection again this Saturday as Kirkby look to maintain their impressive recent home form against Warrington.

After seeing off Altrincham Kersal, Wigton, Broughton Park and Leigh in recent encounters, victory would see Kirkby stretch their winning run on home soil to five matches.

“It’s a good chance to keep the home form going and build on our last four results at Underley Park,” said Hughes.

“We saw that Warrington lost their long unbeaten home record to Kendal last time out so we’re looking to catch them cold on Saturday.”