REDDITCH United manager Darren Byfield said his players had to take more responsibility for their performances in the final five matches of the season after blasting their efforts in Saturday’s lacklustre 2-1 defeat at Cirencester Town.
Byfield believes the Reds need one more victory to be sure of playing Southern League Premier Division football next season, but knows it will not arrive unless his side raise their performance levels from those shown against relegation-threatened Cirencester.
The visitors made a nightmare start when, despite kicking off, a misplaced Khaellem Bailey-Nicholls pass gifted possession to Daniel Demkiv who fired home a superb 25-yard strike after just ten seconds.
Both sides were reduced to ten men five minutes after half time when United’s Jordan Cullinane-Liburd and the hosts’ Aidan Bennett saw red following a bout of handbags.
Alan Griffin’s back post header in the 69th minute made it 2-0 before Dior Angus gave Redditch hope 13 minutes from time with a neat header back across goal and inside the far post following a fine move on the left.
However, despite a late rally, United could not rescue a share of the spoils and Byfield was unhappy with what he had seen.
“I was extremely disappointed with our performance, said Byfield. “It was lethargic and what you’d call an end of season display in which some players looked as though they weren’t particularly interested in being there.
“We’ve obviously had poor results and in some cases performances in recent months, but I haven’t really had to question the players’ attitude or commitment until Saturday, when it wasn’t good enough.”
Byfield, whose 17th placed side are 11 points above the drop zone, says the Reds “owe the fans a performance” at home to St Ives Town on Saturday – the first of four successive home games – and is demanding significant improvement.
“I’m viewing these remaining five matches as cup finals,” added the boss. “It is vital we end the season with decent momentum and the fans head into the summer with some optimism.
“I don’t want them thinking that next season is going to be a struggle. We need to put some smiles on faces.”
On Saturday United handed debuts to two new recruits – Arjun Jung (AJ) following his completion of a four-year scholarship in America and powerful and versatile Solihull Moors man Hafeez Sanusi who is on dual registration.