Petersfield Town manager Ian Saunders is demanding a reaction from his players tonight following their 4-1 drubbing at Egham Town over the weekend.
The Rams head to Barton Rovers (kick-off 7.45pm) looking for a return to winning ways after their setback at the hands of the promotion-chasing London side on Saturday.
The Love Lane boss apologised personally to the club’s travelling support for his side’s performance at Egham and doesn’t want to see a repeat of that display during tonight’s long trek north in division one central.
‘My players were left in no uncertain terms that the performance at Egham on Saturday was not good enough,’ said Saunders.
‘I apologised to the fans as they had travelled up in good numbers to watch us and they then had to put up with that performance.
‘We had a lot of youngsters in the squad for the match and I don’t blame them, but our senior players really didn’t play anywhere near what I consider is an acceptable level.
‘I have told them in no uncertain terms that I will not accept performances where people think it is near the end of the season, we are not in the promotion race, a relegation scrap or going for a cup, so I can relax and not worry about the game too much.
‘We need to keep pushing in all of our remaining games – I will not accept half-hearted performances just because we are near the end of the season.
‘I want us to finish as high up the table as possible.’
Barton Rovers have won only three home league games so far this season but will be looking for the win that will practically secure their status in the division.
The sides drew 2-2 when they met at Love Lane in August, with Barton netting an equaliser in the seventh minute of injury-time.
Saunders added: ‘That game really does stick with me due to the circumstances in which we threw away getting three points so late in the game.
‘When you consider their home record and where they are in the table, this should be a game where we can go up there, be confident and look to return with the three points.
‘If the players give me the reaction I am looking for after Saturday we should be strong enough to go there and be difficult to beat.’