Hucknall Town boss Andy Graves was angry at his side’s performance following a 1-0 defeat at Hilton Harriers.
An early goal by Karl Chadfield was enough to give Hilton Harriers the win as they hosted Groundhopper Day in front of over 250 people.
Hucknall have now won just one of their last five games in the Central Midlands Football League South Division and are now in danger of losing third spot to Pinxton.
“The game was frustrating. Utterly frustrating. There’s over 200 groundhoppers here and about 50 of them stood behind me are saying ‘How many more chances are these going to miss?’ It’s been the same every game,” said Graves.
“Even in the games that we won by six or seven goals we missed too many chances.
“I’ve said it all along, losing Shaun Smith earlier in the season was a big turning point.”
“The strikers that are ruthless are going to cost the club money. I’ve tried bringing new players in but I feel like a broken record in terms of how we keep failing to score.
“Look at the statistics, we never get battered, we only lose by the odd silly goal. We actually scored today, we put it in our own net.”
The starting line-up against Hilton was also missing many of the regular first team players.
“Danso, Ashurst, Sims, Pitt and Leak were all out today,” he said. “Unfortunately, we lost Leak for the Sherwood game and ever since then we’ve had big players missing every week.
“Whether it’s injuries, suspensions or holidays that have already been booked we are always missing some players. It doesn’t do the team any good; I’ll change the team around again next Tuesday night against Teversal depending on the players I have available.”
“We were on an eight-game unbeaten run until we made the three changes in the Sherwood game.
“We brought a young lad called Ethan Greenidge in and he played well, he’s struggled since but he’ll learn. Making the changes isn’t helpful and has certainly played a part in us struggling.”
Jamie Crawford nearly opened the scoring within five minutes but struck his one-on-one effort wide of the right post.
Despite Hucknall’s dominance in possession, Hilton came close to scoring as Jason North hit the post from close range.
However, it would only take 15 minutes for the deadlock to be broken and it was Hilton who struck first.
An uncharacteristic mistake by Hucknall goalkeeper Michael Randall saw him jump over the ball when Hilton’s Chadfield went in for a 50/50 with a sliding challenge. Chadfield connected with the ball and Randall could only look back in horror as the ball trickled in to the back of the net despite Ben Jones’ best efforts to prevent the goal.
The remainder of the game was a lesson in frustration for Graves and the travelling Hucknall contingent amongst the fans as chance after chance was missed by the Yellows.
Particularly in the first half, Shane Newton missed a plethora of opportunities from close range. Most notably, Newton headed the ball wide from just three yards from a Crawford corner. The striker also sent his shot just wide of the post after Cayne Maxwell’s tackle sent him through on goal one-on-one with the keeper.
As the sun began to set, the temperature cooled in harmony with the tempo of the game as the second half was almost unrecognisable from the first. Little to no chances were being created by either team as both sides looked out of ideas.
The final ten minutes saw Hucknall start to apply some real pressure to the Hilton goal but keeper Harry Wood was on-hand to dig the Harriers out of a few tough situations.