Marcus Law felt some of his Kettering Town players “disappeared” as they suffered their first defeat of the Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division season.
Having opened up with a 2-0 success at Dorchester Town last weekend, the Poppies were brought back down to earth at Latimer Park last night (Tuesday) as highly-fancied Leamington claimed an impressive 2-0 victory of their own.
Law’s team were outplayed from pretty much start to finish as the Brakes emphasised their credentials with a dominant display.
Kettering fell behind to Ahmed Obeng’s first-half strike and, having missed a number of other opportunities, Leamington finally wrapped up a deserved victory thanks to Ryan Rowe’s penalty with 14 minutes to go.
After a bright start, the Poppies fell away badly and also lost both Ben Stephens and Liam Canavan due to injuries.
But, overall, Law was unimpressed with what he saw.
“We started brightly, we showed some good passing moves,” the Poppies boss said.
“And then we just seemed to stop wanting the ball and doing the things we were doing well.
“We lost our way and lacked a bit of leadership or a personality throughout the group.
“We have let Leamington dictate things, which is annoying because we were the home side.
“I think there is a lot to be said about the quality we have got but you have to put yourself in the game and I don’t think we did that after the first 20 minutes.
“We were fighting with the shape when we lost two of our more technical players (Stephens and Canavan).
“We needed others to step up but instead they disappeared.
“There was huff and puff and it was very obvious and predictable. It was too easy for them.
“We had no quality in the right areas to hurt them, which was very frustrating.”
The Poppies have the chance to make amends on home soil on Saturday when they entertain Hitchin Town.
Don’t miss more Poppies news in Thursday’s Northamptonshire Telegraph