Bognor boss: Worthing defeat was a hiding - we're not good enough at present
Jack Pearce gave a stark assessment of his Rocks squad and their receding play-off chances after a 3-1 home defeat to Worthing he regarded as a 'hiding' and 'embarrassing'.
The Nyewood Lane chief said some of his players were not showing they were good enough to help the club towards a bid to make the Isthmian premier play-offs - and warned he'd need to make changes to the squad if the second half of Bognor's season was to be more successful than the first.
Pearce's assessment of the defeat - which came after Jordy Mongoy had put the Rocks ahead with a lovely goal - was typically honest and he pulled no punches in saying the Rocks management expected more from their team - especially at home, where they have struggled for results all season. And he said some of his players had simply not worked hard enough to try to get the better of the league leaders.
Pearce said: "I thought it was a game of four quarters. We played quite well in the first quarter and then lost our way a little bit. The last 15 minutes of the first half, they were the better side. They were on top but they didn't create much. Even though we didn't have a lot of the ball after the first 25 minutes, we had the better chances in the first half.
"We keep saying to players 'Don't give away needless free-kicks' and I thought we were very poor for their first goal. Probably, 1-1 at half-time was a fair scoreline.
"Second half there was only one team in it. They were far superior to us and thoroughly deserved their goals. I thought the penalty was a very soft one and that was obviously a major decision. In the second half we had too many players who didn't want to get on the ball and express themselves. I don't know why that was.
"We had four players who would have played who couldn't play -Harvey Whyte, Nathan Odokonyero, Calvin Davies and James Crane. And if you take four influential players out of any team, it will affect you. But that's how the dice roll and the people who came in had an opportunity to impress the manager and they failed. That's the reality of it.
"We have to go to Lewes now but I think it will be a miracle now for us to recover and get in the play-offs now. That was a hiding - a 3-1 hiding at home and I'm not going to hide from it. We have players who haven't worked hard enough and are not fit enough in certain areas. And you can only do so much as a non-league club - you have to rely on players.
"Worthing are top of the league and deserve to be top of the league. They'll be in the top three at the end of the season and that's the standard we have to aspire to. I think we'd have given them a closer game with Calvin, Harvey, James and Nathan but it wasn't to be. It's the first time that XI has ben put together for Bognor, and you're playing against a very good side."
Pearce felt debutants Harvey Hughes and Dan Gifford, on loan from the Pompey academy, both did well. "They're young men, they've never played in an atmosphere like that and I was pleased for them."
As for the squad as a whole, Pearce is looking for some hard graft for them in the coming weeks.
"Football's about hard work, picking yourself up, dusting yourself off. I'm disappointed for the people that turned up. It was an excellent turnout and we have to lick our wounds because it's embarrassing losing 3-1 at home. They're a good side and I wish Adam Hinshelwood all the best and it's up to us now to work hard to recover and put some good results together," he said.
"There's always hope in football but we're going to have to improve and we've got more injuries piling up. It's a problem. Joe Cook has not played for two months and was not going to play (today) but you get injuries and have to play him. That happens to every club during the season.
"It was a tight game first half but second half we never got into it. We were too frightened to put our stamp on it. We allowed them to dictate, boss us, bully us, call it what you want.
"If we wish to get into the top six we need to add two or three more players and get rid of about four, simple as that. But that's not always easy, We will always be trying to improve the squad. What I've seen is that there are certain players who are not good enough for us if we aspire to be in play-off positions.
"We have eight or nine who aren't bad and we've got to work on them, and we've got two or three others who are capable who have to start working a damn sight harder at heir fitness levels and wishing to be involved in the game and make decisions. It's very easy to hide and I thought we had a few who did."