Kevin Wilson says his players need to get back to doing the basic things right after seeing Ilkeston FC’s cup run end at the first hurdle on Saturday.
The 2-1 home defeat to Division One South side Belper Town raised many an eyebrow given the Robins’ largely promising start to the season and their desire to go further than the fourth qualifying round spot earned last season.
That possibility, as well as the financial rewards that come with it, disappeared in the space of 90 minutes, leaving Wilson furious with his team and having to cite the example set by the Robins’ opponents as to what was missing.
He said: “Belper came here with application and a strong work ethic, something we totally lacked, and ended up playing very well and deserving the victory.
“From one to 11 you’d say we should have won the game but we didn’t play well enough and have too many at the moment making individual errors that are costing us.
“One of our main targets for the season, namely getting beyond the fourth qualifying round of the FA Cup, has gone already and that’s very disappointing not just for me but I hope for the players too.
“In the long run, however, it doesn’t affect our five-year plan or our league position so we’ve got to lick our wounds and get on with it.”
Saturday’s game was the ninth Ilkeston had played in just under a month, and whilst Wilson felt fatigue was one of the factors in Saturday’s performance, he says the problems lay deeper than that.
“We’ve had a lot of games but they trained well Thursday and there were no alarm bells ringing,” he added.
“The fact is that they’re prepared properly, they are told what to expect from the other team and how to deal with it, but although Belper played some very good football we were too wide open, passes were going all over the place and so on.
“The lack of work ethic hurt because I made a living out of working hard and it’s a fundamental part of any sport you’re in to have that desire and a passion to go and do the job. That was missing against Belper.
“I was even surprised that we scored against Belper in the end and that hurts too.
“Collectively we’re not good enough at the moment and it’s the basics we need to get back to doing right.
“We conceded two goals from crosses today and the defending as a whole hasn’t been good enough, as emphasised by the goals we conceded at Rushall.
“We’ve been wide open all season and it has to change and it’s my job to now make some decisions as to how that will happen.
“The fact is I’m seeing some quality young players coming through the ranks here and if the older players don’t want to do what’s required, there are plenty of others around here who will.”
Having seen Tuesday’s trip to Grantham postponed due to the Gingerbreads needing a cup replay (a match re-arranged for Saturday, September 28), Ilkeston now have two home games in three days coming up this weekend, with struggling Droylsden visiting the New Manor Ground on Saturday and then King’s Lynn Town on Monday night.
And Wilson is keen to see a postive response to the cup exit.
He said: “In some ways I’d have preferred our game not to have been postponed on Tuesday so we could have tried to get the Belper game out of our system, but maybe a little rest isn’t a bad thing either.
“We’ve made a good start on the whole but the errors are proving too costly. I take responsibility for picking the team but I can’t take responsibility for the individual mistakes that have been happening.
“But the expectations are high here and we have to keep things in check, though getting back to winning ways with these two big games this weekend is a must.”