IF he could have slept on Saturday night, Belper Town manager Peter Duffield would probably have had nightmares after experiencing the heaviest defeat of his managerial career.
The Nailers saw an crashed 5-1 at home to Hucknall Town to end a good run of form results-wise.
Duffield explained: “It was awful to watch and I couldn’t get to sleep on Saturday night just thinking about how badly the game went for us in the second half.”
It was certainly a huge reality check after the Nailers had enjoyed an eight-game unbeaten run that had included seven straight victories.
“To be honest, and as pleasing as it was to have made such a great start to my time here at Belper, I never let myself get carried away,” said Duffield.
“We’ve done really well with just a handful of additions to the squad, but there have been a few signs that there are still some weaknesses and we have been able to gloss over them on the back of sheer hard work and effort.
“I though we looked a little jaded against a good Hucknall side who had drafted in five new players and although we appeared to be getting back into it just after the break, Alan’s (O’Hare) unfortunate own goal seemed to knock the stuffing out of us.
“I’m not blaming Alan for the defeat, as this performance has to be shouldered by all of us and that includes me,” he added.
“When the team does well I stand back and let the players take the plaudits but if, like Saturday, things go wrong then it is my responsibility first and foremost and any issues get dealt with behind closed doors.”
The Nailers have been on the end of more than their fair share of five-goal shockers at Christchurch Meadow in the last 12 months or so, but although Duffield can hardly bear to think about it himself, he says that the players must not forget the experience.
“We must move on, but unless you keep that sense of extreme disappointment uppermost in your mind then subconsciously, it could happen again.”
A double injury blow didn’t help Belper’s cause with both Dan White and Michael Simpkins having to leave the field early after suffering problems.
“With Damien (Magee) unavailable I had to bring back Dan a little sooner than I wanted to,” explained Duffield.
“Unfortunately he felt his hamstring and had to come off after 30 minutes so I put Michael on and moved Alan O’Hare to left back.”
“Unfortunately Michael sustained a knee injury and had to be substituted and after that we struggled to make much impression on the game.”
Simpkins has been signed from Frickley Athletic and was once a king-pin in the Retford United side under Duffield.
There was also been another signing last week, when Goole midfielder Jordan Turner arrived at Christchurch Meadow.
“Jordan didn’t figure last Saturday because I stayed loyal with the rest of the squad,” explained Duffield.
“While we’ve had the great start, I’ve picked the same players where I have been able to and until Saturday they’ve done me proud, but now we need to pick things up.”