Eastbourne Borough boss Tommy Widdrington was the first to admit that his men were lacking match fitness during their 1-1 draw with Hornchurch on Saturday.
Playing their first home league game since Boxing Day and only their second domestic match in four weeks following weather-induced postponements, the Sports were lacking that little bit of zip and zest that might have seen them put the hold out for all three points against the Urchins.
Widdrington said, “I think that game showed we’re lacking a bit of match fitness to be honest.
“That little sharpness and the little intricacies that I look for in certain players were just not quite there at the minute.
“The pitch, while it’s great to be on, is not an easy surface and I think that maybe helped them a little bit, they simplified the game and turned us round a lot.”
Despite his admission, the Borough boss took nothing away from a Hornchurch side that battled hard and were deserving of the point they returned to Essex with.
“I think you got to give credit to the opposition.
“I thought they came here and tried to get at us and, to be fair, I think the movement of their strikers was as good as we’ve seen here at Priory Lane this season, Smith in particular.
“Even though we went 1-0 up, I’d say a draw was probably right but both teams could probably lay claim to three points.”
Borough may have had the three points in the bag by half time had referee Ryan Atkins agreed with all three of Borough’s penalty claims in the opening 45 minutes.
Atkins turned down appeals for handball after a Charlie Gorman strike rebounded off the upper arm of a visiting defender in the box.
The referee indicated how how the player in question had his hands by his side, and waved away more claims later on as James Smith was bundled over on his way to goal.
While the man in black did point to the spot for a foul on Chris Shephard, Widdrington believes each of his decisions were wrong.
He added, “I said to the referee, quite calmly after the game, of the three penalty decisions, you got all three wrong.
“I thought the two he didn’t give were absolute stone-wallers and I’m not sure the one he did give was a penalty.
“But, if those have evened themselves out, then I don’t like to criticise the referee.”
Borough will return to Priory Lane for their next fixture when they host Weston-Super-Mare on Saturday.
They had been due to travel to Bognor in the quarter-finals of the Sussex Cup tonight, but the match will be rearranged to a new date.
l Read Maria Hudd’s match report - see page 38