It’s not often that Rocks boss Jack Pearce singles out individuals for not meeting his high demands.
But after the 3-0 derby day loss to Worthing last week there was no stopping the veteran manager from pointing his finger in the direction of players he felt had let the side and the club down.
Over the years, when he’s been nurturing a young side who have had just a few weeks of playing together, Pearce tends to resort to the carrot rather than the stick.
But the manner of the defeat, and two high-profile mistakes which led to goals, led to the manager laying down the challenge to his players: learn from your mistakes – or else.
Speaking to Rocks Radio after the defeat, Pearce said: “I think whenever you lose 3-0 the easiest thing to say is that you’re not up for the fight, but I don’t think that’s the case.
“Goals change the psychology and everything else in a game. As I keep trying to say to people what we’re trying to do here is not easy.
“We have got five players – that’s 50 per cent of the team – who were playing at levels below this last season. They will come in and mistakes. But seven players didn’t play anywhere near the level we expect. When it’s like that we’re not going to win many games of football.”
In an explosive interview, Pearce then went on to single out individuals.
He said: “I must be honest the way Keaton Wood played in the first half I thought we found him at a bus stop on the way in. But he was not the worst player we had.”
He then pointed to the error from goalkeeper Charlie Searle in spilling the ball for the opener and Tommy Leigh for losing the ball on the edge of his box as he tried to beat two players, which led to the Rebels’ second.
Pearce said: “The only good thing to come out of this game is if Tommy Leigh understands risk and reward.”
He added that Leigh’s decision was “disgraceful” – adding “he is young and he will learn”.