Lee Bradbury believes the Hawks need to take a look at themselves after their awful start to the new Vanarama National League South campaign.
The Hawks boss was left angry and frustrated as his side wilted under the blazing sun at Woodside Park to go down to a 3-0 loss to Bishop’s Stortford.
With great optimism in the camp ahead of the new term, that feelgood factor went up in smoke as they found themselves 2-0 down at the break with Elliott Buchanan scoring both goals.
And despite efforts to get themselves back into the contest, the Hawks left with their tails between their legs as Buchanac completed his hat-trick just before the hour mark.
Bradbury said: ‘For the first 15 minutes we were doing well but then a bad goal put us on the back foot.
‘Hesitant defending put us behind and after that we were always fighting to get back in it.
‘We have been gifting away goals for the last few weeks and I was hoping we had got it out of our system.
‘It has got to stop and with the experience in our team it shouldn’t be happening.
‘The second half was a lot better but we have to take a good look at ourselves.’
With Hawks expected to mount a sustained promotion challenge this season, Bradbury also questioned his side’s bravery in and out of possession.
He said: ‘We waited until we were two goals down before we started to pass the ball and try to create things.
‘There are two types of bravery – one where you tackle and scrap for every ball and another when you are prepared to get on the ball when things aren’t going well
‘We didn’t do either well enough and Bishop’s Stortford played better as a team than we did.
Perhaps most annoying for Bradbury was the fact his team largely contributed to their own downfall with some kamikaze defending.
After making a reasonable start a horrible mix up between defender Brian Dutton and goalkeeper Ryan Young, just past the 15-minute mark, set the home side on their way and started the Hawks nightmare.
The visitors failed to deal with a straightforward ball over the top and as Dutton tried to shepherd the ball back to the advancing goalkeeper, somehow the ball slipped between the goalkeeper’s legs.
That left Buchanan with the simplest of tasks of sliding the ball into an empty net.
But a second well-worked goal for the striker four minutes before the break left the Hawks totally deflated heading into half-time.
Bradbury reacted with a triple substitution in a bid to get back into the game.
He sent on James Hayter, Dan Blanchett and Manny Monthe.
‘We needed to be positive so I changed the formation and personnel because we had to go for it,’ said Bradbury.
But while Hawks were improved and had more of the possession, they lacked the creativity and quality to break down the home defence.
Buchanan completed his hat-trick in the 58th minute and once again, the Hawks defending could be questioned in the build-up.
Frankie Merrifield was allowed to drive unchallenged into the area and when his cross was only half-cleared, the striker fired into the bottom far corner.
Hawks: Young, Strugnell, Cummings (Blanchett, 46), Stock, Dutton (Monthe, 46), Molyneaux, Swallow (Hayter, 46), Donnelly, Paterson, Morgan, Clifton.