Alton manager Kevin Adair was disappointed with his side’s display after they crashed to a comprehensive 6-1 defeat at Farnham Town in the Combined Counties Premier Division South on Friday night.
The Brewers had gone into the A31 derby in good form – having won their previous five games in all competition and kept four clean sheets in the process – but were ultimately well beaten by the league leaders.
“We’ve probably let ourselves down in the first half in a couple of ways – individually and collectively as a group,” said Adair.
“The occasion might have been a bit exciting.
“We were not really concentrating or focused on the non-negotiables or the disciplines we should generally carry out – and then the game’s gone.
“We’ve had a really bright start, created a couple of half chances and there’s not really much in the game.
“Then there’s a breakaway, there’s a soft free kick given and we just fall asleep and they play a really quick free kick on the outside.
“There’s a two against one because we’ve not slowed down the free kick.
“They deliver the ball, Lewis Mees has parried it and their striker is the first one to it – so it’s a tough start.
“The second goal came from a cross from the right-hand side which is unopposed. It’s a free header inside the six-yard box – so we’re disappointed with that.
“The third goal comes from us pressing a ball and their player ending up in ten yards of space.
“The fourth one is a bit worrying. The ball is up in the air for 20 seconds and we’ve not dealt with it, not gone to meet it and it’s bounced three times – and then the centre-forward has got in so it’s 4-0 at half-time.”
The Brewers improved in the second half, although the damage had already been done in the first half.
“At half-time we told the players to have a bit about them, not completely crumble and see the game out with some sort of dignity and discipline,” said Adair.
“Listen, there’s not a great deal to be happy about – it’s tough to talk about it but at the same time we’ve got to stand up and be counted and this game won’t make or break our season.
“No one’s here for getting drubbed – no one enjoys losing, let alone by a big margin.
“They were clinical and ruthless when they needed to be and we paid the price.
“We came with a slightly different gameplan to what we would normally do. Did it work? Maybe it didn’t. Maybe we got it wrong – but there were some things we didn’t do well enough as individuals.
“When you come up against quality sides you’re going to get punished.
“Farnham are where they are because they’ve got the quality they’ve got, so when you have a game where you’re not anywhere near your best you’re running the risk of being on the end of something.
“We came into the game with confidence and we were confident, but the minute one thing didn’t go our way it sort of turned on us.
“They got on the front foot and were positive and that was the end of the game.”
Next up for the Brewers is a home game against lowly Epsom & Ewell at Anstey Park in the Combined Counties Premier Division South on Saturday afternoon (3pm), and Adair wants to see his side react positively from the defeat at Farnham and start another winning run.
“We move on from the Farnham game and are done with it,” said Adair. “What will define how badly that game has gone will be dictated by how we play in our next game.
“I need to see a reaction and good attitudes from now until Saturday.
“We’ve started to focus on what we do rather than worrying about the opposition.
“Against Farnham we might have focused on the opposition a little bit too much.
“We could have done things a number of different ways, and it might not have mattered – you’ve got to be at it whatever way you’re set up and we weren’t unfortunately.”