BROWNE ON THE BALL: It’s not how far you fall, but swiftly you pick yourself back up again

Conner Robinson in action against Hednesford.
Conner Robinson in action against Hednesford.

There’s no way around it, that was terrible.

After watching his Boston United side beaten 2-0 at home by Hednesford Town on Saturday, manager Dennis Greene described the performance as the worst he had witnessed since he arrived at the club in early 2013.

And I doubt anybody could argue with that.

Yes, United were thrashed 7-2 at home by Oxford City earlier this season. Indeed, there was plenty lacking from the team as they lost 1-0 at Guiseley during the last campaign. On other occasions the Pilgrims have been far from their best.

But at least they normally give it a go.

Saturday’s defeat was totally lacking. Lacking in spirit, lacking in desire and lacking in shots at goal.

Not one decent effort was struck between the Pitmen’s posts on an afternoon where, had there been a televised Danish paint drying competition on ITV 9+1, I think the majority of those in the stands would have opted for a date with the sofa and remote.

It should be a day to forget but, unfortunately, the lowest lows, just like the highest highs, are the moments which stick in your brain.

Now the big question is, where do United go from here? On Saturday they travel to Leek Town for an FA Cup fixture which, on paper, should be comfortable for Boston considering they sit two rungs higher up the footballing ladder.

But stats and reality can often be polar opposites.

League standings don’t take into account the adrenaline which will be pumping through the Leek Town players as they work themselves up ahead of their biggest game of the season.

Nor do they point out that the hosts really have nothing to lose, and that their best option is to go for it.

If the division you played in guaranateed the outcome then knockout football would be rubbish and Boston United fans wouldn’t shudder at names such as Kidsgrove, Brigg and Congleton.

But this is not a time for doom and gloom to creep in to the United dressing room.

In fact, the Pilgrims need the complete opposite.

“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but rising every time we fall,” said Confucious more than 2,500 years ago - and his words still ring true to this day.

Yes, United were collectively appalling on Saturday and no player was close to the standards they have set themselves.

The team could mope, feel sorry for themselves and do the same again this weekend, or they could pick themselves back up, dust themselves down and go out and prove the Hednesford game was just a blip.

A plum FA Cup tie against a Football League club in one of the country’s finest stadiums is a cracking incentive for any footballer to want to go out and turn it on this weekend.

But surely the desire to regain personal pride and answer your critics in style should get the fire burning in the belly even more.

How you react to adversity is often the truest indicator of the measure of a man.

At Leek Town, those smarting after last weekend’s defeats will be given their opportunity to fight back.

Now it’s up to them to show how badly they want it.