Farnham Town had to fight back from a goal behind to beat bottom-of-the-table Sheerwater – after what Paul Johnson labelled the worst period of play he had ever seen as a manager.
Town led 1-0 before Dquame Copeland was sent off and Sheerwater took advantage of the extra man to take a 2-1 interval lead.
Johnson was furious with Town’s performance after taking the lead – but his half-time changes paid off as they hit back to level through Connor Young and Liam Flanighan hit the winner in the last minute.
Johnson said: “It may have looked an exciting game from the outside but it was a frustrating one for us.
“We thought we should have had a penalty and we got a red card that we weren’t happy about.
“It was always going to be a difficult game as Sheerwater have a new manager and made a lot of changes, and the players were going to run a lot harder than they would have a week ago. They made it difficult for us.
“We started really well, looked in control and went 1-0 up and looked by far the better side. But then they scored and after that we were diabolical for 25 minutes. It was dreadful.
“Half-time couldn’t come quickly enough, we were that bad – there’s no hiding from that.
“I told the players I had never been involved in a game where my team had been so bad. The only positive was I didn’t think things could get any worse.
“We made changes and went with two up top and we took the game to Sheerwater, and we dominated the second half – they couldn’t get out of their half for long spells of the game.
“We did worry if a goal was coming as we squandered a couple of chances but then Connor took his chance really well and it was a case of if we had enough time to win the game, and fortunately we did.
“There as massive relief at the end but even now I’m really frustrated by those 25 minutes. I told the players afterwards that it was unacceptable. It wasn’t a lack of effort, just a lack of intelligence, not wanting to do the basics right. We got everything wrong.
“It was just those 25 minutes as the opening of the game was really positive. I just don’t want to see that happening again.
“It was a very strange game – maybe we thought after scoring early we would win the game easily.”
Johnson was also frustrated when Harrison Bayley opted not to join Town from Hartley Wintley, instead joining Isthmian league Binfield.
“He did a U-turn on me,” said Johnson. “We had everything agreed and the forms were sorted, but then he called me before training and said Binfield had come in late for him and he wanted to see what they had to say.
“Good for him to be honest about it, and it’s the chance to play in a level above, but it was disappointing.
“Our level of football doesn’t really help when you are trying to attract better players because it is so bad. The football played in the step above is so much faster – and you don’t get people missing training because of a works do or because it’s grandad’s birthday. Everyone goes to training and the commitment is so much more.
“It’s that kind of mentality we need to bring to Farnham, especially for next season. Harrison’s mentality is what we want to bring here – he wants to play at the highest level he can.”
Town are back at The Memorial ground on Saturday when they entertain Croydon. “It will be nice to back home again as there’s a good feel about the place, although it will be a tough game – they’re a good side.
“We are still looking to bring in some players – we lost a lot and we haven’t replaced them all yet. We had only three on the bench on Saturday and you can name five in this league. We haven’t utilised that yet but we want to do that next season. We still need to bring in some new faces.”