Published: 05:00, 28 October 2021
Darren Blackburn is keen to move on quickly from Sittingbourne’s horror-show against Cray Valley.
The Brickies’ unbeaten home record in Isthmian South East went up in smoke when they lost 6-0 to the high-flying Millers on Saturday.
Three of the goals came in the last five minutes but the hosts could hardly complain about the margin of defeat.
The ease with which Cray Valley were allowed to run through his side concerned Brickies boss Blackburn, who is considering changes for Saturday’s game at another top side, Haywards Heath.
He’s sent the players footage of the goals, which included a second-half hat-trick from Marcel Barrington, but doesn’t intend to dwell on the performance.
“I always take responsibility as a manager and look at what I could have done differently,” said Blackburn, who was missing midfielders Toby Ajala, Danny Taylor and George Monger.
“We might have conceded a couple less if I’d set up differently but I still think we’d have been well-beaten because our attitude and our application wasn’t good at all, and out of possession we were awful.
“It was like a training game, it looked like it didn’t mean anything.
“We went with an attacking line-up which, to be fair, left us over-exposed at the back but that’s no excuse for what I saw on the video.
“Our recovery runs - you can’t even call them runs, they were more like trots - were poor, we were letting people ghost past us.
“It was so far away from everything we said in the team-talk on how we were supposed to be without the ball.
“It was like a basketball game that we played on Cray Valley’s terms and were never going to win in a million years.
“I didn’t shout and swear or kick tea-cups after the game, like I probably wanted to, because that wouldn’t have been constructive.
“I always look at what I could have done and then I have to go to the players and say what’s happening here?
“We were defending wrong side, closing down wrong side, allowing players to run past us.
“It was embarrassing at times which is tough to say about this group of players because I like every single one of them.
“Sometimes you might win or lose your individual battles but as a team we were so far off it.
“We’ve still had a good start to the season and I’ve said to the lads you’ll get these games sometimes where nothing goes right and you just want to forget about it and pretend it never happened.
“That’s what we’re going to do, pretend it never happened, work hard and try to put things right on Saturday.”
Having tried different players and systems, Blackburn is beginning to form a picture of his best side.
Whoever he picks this weekend will be tested by Haywards Heath, the division’s surprise package.
“After nine games I can look back at the results and see who’s started when we’re doing well and when we’ve not done so well and you can build a picture of your best team,” said Blackburn.
“It’s hard to do that after two, three or four games but after nine, you can see what’s what worked and what hasn’t.
“There will be changes at Haywards Heath. They’re having a really good season.
“I know Gil Carvalho, who was at Sittingbourne, and he’s doing well with them.
"I know his levels and it looks as though the manager has got a way of playing and a settled side."