Harrogate Railway boss Paul Beesley has slammed his players’ fitness levels following a disappointing 4-0 home defeat to Rainworth Miners Welfare.
The Locomotives’ previous two fixtures fell foul of the recent bad weather, meaning that by the time they took to the Station View pitch on Saturday they had not played in 11 days.
Yet, Beesley cited a lack of fitness rather than ring-rustiness as the reason behind his side’s poor showing.
“The players have let the club down, me down and themselves down. I’m very disappointed,” he said.
“I’ve asked them all to keep themselves ticking over in terms of their fitness during the last week or so, but a lot of them looked like they haven’t done anything at all.
“It’s their responsibility to get in the gym or do whatever they need to do to make sure that they are fit enough to be able to perform out on the pitch.
“We’re not a full-time club so I don’t see them every day, nor can I babysit them, but I expect better. This is a bit of a slap in the face and words were said in the dressing room after full-time.”
Rainworth sit one position below 17th-placed Railway in the NCEL Premier Division standings, yet they were the better side throughout the whole of Saturday’s encounter.
Player-mananger Beesley had demanded that his charges deliver three points in the build-up to the game, but it was the visitors who went into the interval in the lead courtesy of Matthew Sykes’ 11th-minute effort.
Matthew Harris made it 2-0 early in the second period before Sykes doubled his own tally from the penalty spot following Sam Denton’s 59th-minute foul inside his own box.
Harris then capped a miserable day for the hosts when he took the score to 4-0, poking home following a corner with nine minutes of normal time remaining.
“Rainworth looked fitter than us, they were quicker and sharper and first to every ball,” Beesley added.
“Looking at the league table, it’s a game that we should have won, on paper. We’d put a good run together and had been and playing well, but to be fair, Rainworth looked a lot better team than their position would suggest.
“The pitch was really heavy, and a bit of a mess and they played it better than we did, but that’s no real excuse. We were just miles off the pace on the day.”
Fourth-placed Thackley are the visitors to Station View this weekend, and Beesley is demanding a reaction from his players.
“There’s absolutely no question that the lads owe me and the club a performance against Thackley,” he continued.
“We have to put what happened against Rainworth right, and although Thackley are doing well in this division, there’s no reason why we can’t get a result.
“When we played them away from home we weren’t a million miles away from getting something there, but it all depends on whether we turn up this week.
“The squad as a whole needs to show more commitment to the cause, because one thing is for certain, those that don’t have the right attitude will not be here next season.”
Kick-off at Station View on Saturday is at 3pm.