‘We haven’t done ourselves justice’ – Fareham Town’s season ends on a ‘whimper’ with double cup exit
Fareham boss Pete Stiles felt some of his players needed to take a 'long look at themselves' after suffering a Portsmouth Senior Cup semi-final defeat at Moneyfields.
The Reds' season was ended with a 3-1 defeat against Moneys at Dover Road in the delayed 2019-20 season last-four tie.
Stiles conceded his side's lacklustre first half showing ultimately left them with a 'mountain to climb', while he was unhappy with a lack of cutting edge despite largely dominating proceedings after the restart.
Steve Hutchings' penalty and Kaleem Haitham's strike inside the opening 32 minutes had put Moneys in command.
However, Gary Austin gave the Reds a much-needed boost to pull the score back to 2-1 in first half stoppage-time before Hutchings' second penalty - much-debated by Fareham - wrapped up the victory prior to the interval.
But rather than point the finger at the second spot-kick award, Stiles admitted some of his players needed to take responsibility for the defeat.
He said: ‘We gave ourselves a mountain to climb by not turning up in the first half, really.
‘We didn’t do what we said we were going to do, we got involved in things we shouldn’t, we didn’t play the way we normally play.
‘The second one was a ridiculous penalty. The officials weren’t the greatest but I can’t just blame them because we were poor.
‘Generally, I think there were one or two who could hold their head high, but one or two need to have a long look at themselves.'
Fareham were full of optimism when football resumed with the easing of lockdown restrictions last month.
Although their Wessex League Premier Division campaign had been curtailed, they had an FA Vase third round tie at Plymouth Parkway and the delayed PSC semi-final to look forward to.
Now, following defeats in both games, the Reds’ 2020-21 season is over and Stiles has been left disappointed by the way things have worked out.
He added: 'we’ve gone out of both (FA Vase and Senior Cup) on a whimper and I don’t think we’ve done ourselves justice for all the hard work we did earlier in the season.
‘We’ve just let it go and that disappoints me.
‘It has been stop-start (the season) but it’s just disappointing. A month ago we were in the FA Vase and this and now we’re out of both.'