Hucknall Town boss Andy Graves has challenged his players to bounce back after they lost their unbeaten Central Midlands League record at bogey ground Holbrook St Michaels on Saturday.
After dropping points there in successive draws, this time they were beaten 2-1 and Graves said: “I won’t criticise my players in the paper.
“We spoke about it after the game and we know where we went wrong. It was a below-par performance.
“Credit to Holbrook – that is three seasons on the bounce they have stopped us playing there in their style, which is effective for them. I can’t take anything away from them.
“We had our chances. They took theirs but we didn’t take ours.
“We missed a penalty that could have brought us back level, but we missed it. Then we couldn’t break them down second half. They had determination and grit.”
Micky Dunne and a Sam Williamson penalty gave Holbrook a two goal advantage with Jamie Crawford pulling one back for the visitors.
Graves said: “We have to hold our hands up – on the day we weren’t good enough to do it. So that’s a lesson. Respect to them. There are no excuses.
“I’d like to add that there is a way to win and there is a way to lose, but I will leave it at that. Credit to them, they stopped us playing.
“They got men behind the ball when they needed to, they defended doggedly, cleared everything when needed and their keeper was in inspired form.
“He made one terrific save in the first half at a really important time, and then he saved a penalty as well.”
He added: “To be honest we could have played there until Christmas and not scored the way the second half went.
“That’s what happens – that’s football for you. You can never tell. If you are not on your best game you are going to get caught out.
“One or two let themselves down on Saturday and, to be honest, they have all been big about it and held their hands up.
“So I am not questioning them or naming individuals. We win together and we lose together – we are a squad.”
The defeat came just one week after leaders Pinxton dropped points, but Graves said he was only concerned with his own side’s results.
“I am not one of these people in life that wishes other people bad luck or takes enjoyment out of other people’s failures,” he said.
“You get carried away with that and then it comes back and bites you on the bum. I think it’s a bad trait in people. You concentrate on what you’re doing and don’t worry about other people.
“Maybe one or two people were concentrating more on what was happening for others than ourselves and they got found out on Saturday.”