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So there were no excuses about what happened on Saturday, when we lost at home to newly-promoted Braintree. It was an absolutely appalling performance, the worst home performance we have put up in my four seasons in charge. Our passing was terrible: we couldn’t string two together. We were playing too many long balls, which wasn’t the plan. We are not a long ball team, we are an attacking passing team, so there were no excuses for that sort of thing. I would love to take this opportunity to make an apology to the crowd, because it was such a rubbish game. How can you explain the team playing like that? It was a bad day at the office: every single player was off their game. That doesn’t happen very often.

Braintree came with a game plan, to get everyone behind the ball. They didn’t look likely to score until the goal. It was the sort of game which was going to be won through a mistake, and unfortunately the mistake was ours. Wilko (Paul Wilkerson) got a back-pass and everybody started moving up the pitch for his kick. But he kicked it straight at their unmarked centre forward, who said ‘thanks very much’ and passed in into the net. He won’t get an easier goal all season; you or I could have scored it. I was disappointed with our reaction, it was one of those nights we weren’t going to score. In the 93rd minute Boothy (Paul Booth) had a chance from six yards out, which he put into the car park. Afterwards I told the players exactly what I felt. I told them that that sort of performance simply will not be tolerated. A performance like that hurts me. I had a rotten weekend. I just hoped the players were hurting as bad as me.

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Flash in the Pan: a rare attacking chance for the Rooks
against Braintree