Hucknall Town boss Andy Graves was left disappointed and angry after a surprise 3-2 defeat at in-form Matlock Town Reserves saw their three point lead disappear at the top of the CML South Division.
With Sherwood Colliery slamming bottom of the table Teversal Reserves 7-0, the sides are now level on points.
“We just have to take it on the chin and move on,” said Graves.
“You’d expect Sherwood to take the points against Teversal to be honest, but they still didn’t go above us. They are still six goals behind us.
“We need to start putting more in the net, but the most disappointing this is we’d only conceded five goals in 11 games and then we conceded three in one game.
“But that’s how it goes. These things happen and there is still a long, long way to go.”
Memories of that early season hammering of Matlock soon disappeared as Hucknall fell behind three times and were only able to bounce back twice on Saturday.
“I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, even though we beat them 6-0 early doors this season,” said Graves.
“They have been on a good run and that’s six wins on the bounce for them.
“It certainly isn’t easy if you’re not in the right frame of mind.
“There were one or two things I wasn’t happy with. I didn’t realise one or two of the players had been out at work do’s.
“They should have been up front with me about it and I will be having words about that with them.
“I could have had another couple of players in that might have made a difference. Social media always catches them out them out when they are not up front with me.”
Now Graves has to decide whether or not to make changes for Saturday’s visit of Mickleover RBL.
Graves said: “I expect an immediate response and I am toying with the idea of changing things or saying, right, your lot let us down last week, you’ve got this game to show us what you can do otherwise there will be changes the following week.
“You can’t take things for granted. There are plenty of players breathing down the necks of those who are actually starting. They have go and put the performances in.”
Looking back at the Matlock defeat, he said: “We lost it in the first half really as we didn’t get to the tempo of the game quickly enough.
“There were mitigating circumstances with the goals with Leakey (David Leak) tripping over and then a ricochet from a clearance that fell nicely for their player.
“We’d got ourselves back in it at 1-1 before the ricochet helped them go in front again.
“We had chances, one of them was harder to miss than score to be honest, and that would have changed the complexion of the game, though at that stage we were still not with the tempo.”
Graves was certainly impressed by the opposition.
“Matlock are a young, sprightly side, they have some good quality players and are probably the best technical side we’ve played this season without a doubt,” he said.
“If they keep those lads together they will be formidable.
“Second half we were better and we equalised again with a very good goal.
“Then 30 seconds later we just fell asleep – a lack of concentration – and the ball went straight through for their lad to run onto again.
“The last 15 minutes we were camped in their half, but we were only creating half chances and they were defending well.
“At 2-2, I’d probably have taken the draw to be honest. I don’t think we did enough to deserve to win the game.”
With two crucial games against rivals Eastwood imminent over the Festive period, Graves is hoping this weekend’s game doesn’t fall foul of predicted wintry weather.
“They’ve forecast frost and snow apparently so the covers will go on the pitch after it’s been prepared on Friday and we’ll see what happens,” he said.
“It’s fingers crossed as if we lose this game we only have Kilburn the following Saturday before we play the double header against Eastwood over Christmas and New Year.”