Sean Ray said that Hastings United’s performance during the first hour yesterday (Saturday) was not up to scratch.
The U’s suffered just their third home defeat of the season with a 1-0 loss at home to Leiston in the Ryman Football League Premier Division and only really seemed to get going after they went behind.
United player-manager Ray, who watched from the dugout while serving the final game of a four-match ban, said: “We can’t afford to go 1-0 down before we wake up. Once they scored we were the better side and we created enough chances to get something out of the game.
“If we started the game as we did the last half-hour, we would’ve won. The response from going 1-0 down was terrific, but we were lacking in every area for the first hour. I’ve stuck up for these players all season, but for the first hour I can’t defend that.
“We said to the boys how vital the next four games are. Maybe we put too much emphasis on the next four and maybe some of the players didn’t handle the pressure of it. But if they don’t realise the position we’re in some of them have got to open their eyes.
“Every time we lose a game the next one is must win. We’ve put ourselves in this position and the league table doesn’t lie. We’ve won four games all season and it’s not good enough. We’ve got to put it right.”
United now find themselves in the second relegation place with 13 games remaining, the first of which is at home to Harrow Borough on Tuesday night. The under-18 fixture at home to Burgess Hill Town, which was scheduled for tomorrow night, has been put back to Thursday.