Manager Graham Drury said he couldn’t fault his Boston United side’s fight at Harrogate last night - but he accused players of ‘switching off’ and costing the club victory.
Sounding like a schoolteacher dishing out end-of-term report cards, he gave his class an A for effort, but an E for achievement.
Speaking after the 4-2 defeat, Drury told The Standard: “I’m really frustrated. If it was out of 10 for effort, you’d have to say every player would perhaps be on an eight.
“I spoke about the players’ organisation. And if you have to mark them on that, I’m talking about a four.”
The manager’s frustrations came from what he believes was an inability for his team to follow instructions.
He said the talk prior to kick off was all about keeping two solid banks of four in defence and midfield, in an attempt to nullify Harrogate’s ability to quickly pick up the second ball.
But by the 16th minute, the hosts were 2-0 up thanks to goals from Tom Platt and Michael Wooods.
“It was crazy, like they were all still on the bus or whatever,” Drury said.
“It’s up to us to get them tighter together as a four and tighter in midfield as a four.
“When we get possession, then we break. We have to get it drilled in to them week-in and week-out.
“When we do it we’re a decent side, when they switch off and don’t organise each other we have problems.”
However, after a stern half-time talking to the Pilgrims looked to have turned the match around, Ben Milnes and Marc Newsham bringing the side level with just less than half and hour left to play.
However, Nathan Stainfield’s tug on Adam Nowakowski in the penalty area gave Harrogate a lifeline, Dominic Knowles regaining the lead from 12 yards.
Drury continued: “When we got back to 2-2 I thought we were going to win it, there was only one side in it.
“But as a manager how can you legislate for someone pulling a player down like that?
“I’m gobsmacked. It put them back in the game.”
With the clock ticking down, Boston brought on Tom Ward and put the defender up front as they pumped hopeful balls into the Town penalty area.
But as United committed men to attack, Lee Elam grabbed a 90th-minute fourth for his side on the break.
However, Drury has no regrets about the scoreline.
He said: “I’ll hold my hands up for the fourth goal.
“Scorelines don’t matter, whether you lose 4-2 or 10-2. At the end of the day there could have been a point to gain.
“We gambled, but I’ll always do that.”