Jerry Gill wants more from his Bath City players after two contrasting halves of football saw them slip to a midweek defeat against Billericay Town – withan FA Trophy trip to National League Barnet coming up this weekend.
The second, however, saw City lose the flowing football that had them in the ascendancy, before a long cross from Sam Deering squirmed into the corner to hand Billericay the points.
“It’s probably the most disappointed I’ve been for a very, very long time,” Gill said. “I thought the game at half-time was there for taking, I felt as if we were in the ascendancy; the far better side.
“The first half was the best performance we’ve had for a long time. I don’t think we’ve played that well for the last three or four weeks in possession, but we certainly moved it with some ball speed, got switches of play.
“Obviously we scored a goal and then concede a really poor goal where they break a line between us twice. It was a good passing move from them, but when it goes down the middle of the pitch and splits us it’s not a nice one to concede.”
After the break, however, it was a different story.
Gill continued: “Second half we don’t look like a Bath City team, we start pumping high balls. I’m looking for a leader and there’s no-one driving the team.
“Decision making was farcical at times. They’re playing a very high line and we’re trying to play into a pack when there’s room to play down the sides.
“Then when we got it in deep areas and we’ve got to try and pull them out, we’re playing long balls into them, which is what they want. Balls are coming off their keeper from free-kicks and shots and no-one’s on the front foot.
“I think we missed a trick tonight, I really do. All right they’re a top-three team as in the league but, it’s no disrespect to them whatsoever, I felt like that was a team for the taking there.
“We’ve played against teams that are a lot better than them and I’m really disappointed.”
On Deering’s winner, Gill added: “The second goal is shambolic. They must have scored from three-quarters up the pitch. It’s not even a shot, it’s a cross.
“And our defenders are stuck on the six-yard box, so when that ball goes back, if you can’t get to the 18-yard box, you’re going to cause yourself problems
“It’s okay saying to Ryan Clarke it’s gone in from long distance, well no, you need to clear the box so that Ryan can have a clear view of that ball coming in, because if he does he just picks the ball up.”
And going forward, the Romans chief wants to see his team driving each other on to bring themselves back into the form he knows they are capable of.
“Some of the players are fighting for form now,” Gill said. “We’ve got too many at the moment that are battling to reach the levels which they have in previous weeks for us.
“I understand teams aren’t going to be consistently good over the course of a season. What I thought was we were picking up points when we weren’t quite playing at our best and digging out results.
“But tonight we could have made a statement and we could have got ourselves in a really good position in the league. That was one of our games in hand that we wanted to win.
“We’ve let it go. The players have done it, they’ve let it go. I’m very complimentary to my group, but I don’t feel as if they took the bull by the horns there second half.
“I feel as though too many went into their shells. As I said, I didn’t see enough leaders.
“They’re a good group, they get on really well, but I want to see a few demanding a little bit more off each other. In the right way as well, because we can’t keep doing it on the side.
“I was driving them at half-time because I don’t think they sensed what I was sensing; that you could go and score, not only two and three but a few goals against these.”
This weekend City head to Barnet for an FA Trophy tie in the club’s first ever visit to The Hive.
Gill says there will be some decisions to make selecting the team in north London.
Sean Rigg was forced out of the Billericay game during the warm-up with a pulled calf, while loanee James Morton took an ankle knock training with Bristol City on Friday.
“It’s a freebie, but we’ve got a problem because we don’t know what XI we’re going to pick,” Gill said.
“We’re low on numbers, as I said players aren’t dictating that they need to play in the team; no shirt is a given out there.
“I was excited by the draw and I will be when it comes to it, but at the moment I’m far too engrossed on what I’ve seen tonight in the second half.
“I’m very honest in what I say about the players. I’ll back them to the hilt, I want them all to do so well.
“I respect them thoroughly, but at the moment a few more need to give something back to the football club – not me – because we do all we can within our resources to help them out, and tonight the second half they didn’t help us out.”