REDDITCH United manager Paul Davis gave an honest assessment of his team’s performance after a humbling 5-2 opening day defeat to AFC Rushden & Diamonds and called upon his players to respond against Barwell tomorrow (Tuesday) night.
The Reds conceded two goals in the opening eight minutes before heading into half-time 3-0 down. Diamonds added two more goals after the break before a superb free-kick from Joe Stokes and a Leam Howards finish reduced the visitors’ deficit to 5-2.
Davis, while naming 13 new faces in the squad, made no excuses at full-time and apologised to Reds supporters.
“Firstly, on behalf of the staff and players, I would like to apologise to the fans – they didn’t deserve that,” said the boss.
“Obviously, we didn’t start well and conceding two goals from set-pieces is desperately disappointing, as we normally class ourselves as well-organised.
“To come back from two goals down after eight minutes was always going to be difficult and if we had been more clinical in front of goal at 2-0 then maybe we could’ve forced a different result.
“We then conceded another sloppy goal just before half-time which, effectively, killed the game. Despite the first half, I was pleased with the players’ application and attitude in the second half as they kept going but, once again, lapses in concentration cost us another two goals.”
The Reds will want to put the opening day defeat behind them and they have the perfect opportunity to respond when Barwell visit the TRICO Stadium for the first Evo-Stik South Premier Division Central home clash of the season.
Davis said of the opponents: “We are fully aware of what challenge faces us. Barwell are one of the most physical sides in the league, but they also boast quality. Within their ranks they have some talented footballers.”
On his own charges, he added: “We need to show some courage on Tuesday. Saturday afternoon hurt all of us and now it is up to myself, staff and players to show the home supporters what we can do. The perfect response is three points.”
Davis has a few injury doubts ahead of the game as Giancarlo Gabbaidini (concussion), Jamie Ashmore (knee), Joel Meade (knee) and Will Davidson (groin) will all be assessed beforehand.
On Tuesday night fans can pay on the gate at £10 for adults, £6 concessions and £2 for under 16s.