Andy Peaks revealed he delivered some “home truths” to his AFC Rushden & Diamonds players after they were held by Deeping Rangers in the preliminary round of the Emirates FA Cup.
Diamonds fell behind to a Scott Mooney goal before Jack Bowen, who was later withdrawn due to a facial injury, levelled in the first half.
Despite their second-half dominance, Diamonds were unable to find a winner and will now try to finish the job against the Future Lions United Counties League Premier Division side in a replay at Hayden Road on Tuesday, September 4.
Boss Peaks was far from impressed with his team’s first-half performance.
And, as they prepare to return to Evo-Stik South League Premier Division Central action at St Neots Town tomorrow (3pm), he knows his players will have to be “a lot better”.
“I said to the players before the game that there is always a shock in the FA Cup and this game was a banana skin waiting to happen,” the Diamonds boss said.
“We didn’t play well enough in the first half but we have still managed to be in the competition and that is the positive out of all of it.
“We have set our own standards and we didn’t reach them, particularly in that first half.
“We dominated the second half without making their goalkeeper make a save and when you don’t score when you’re on top, there’s always that chance they could hit you on the break.
“To be honest, I told a few home truths to a few of the players after the game.
“The replay won’t be easy at all, even though we will be at home. I thought Deeping were every bit as good as I expected. It is a good club and they have good players who are capable of causing us problems.
“We have to look forward to a local derby on Bank Holiday Monday and we will have to be a lot better than we were in this one.
“If we had played like that in our previous league games then it could have been embarrassing.
“We know we are better than that and we have to make sure we show it.”
The first half of the cup clash was marred by a serious injury to former Diamonds midfielder Jason Kilbride after a 50-50 challenge with Jack Ashton.
The game was held up for eight minutes while the Deeping man received treatment.
And Peaks added: “It was a terrible one for Jason, he landed awkwardly, there was certainly no malice and it is really terrible for him. You don’t want to see that happen to anyone.
“He is a good mate of a few of our lads and I know him well and we just echo what everyone else has said.
“We hope he makes a speedy recovery and I will certainly be checking up on him.
“It shook Jack up a bit which is understandable and I think it’s a reality check as well. Players need to realise that your next game could be your last, so you have to enjoy it and make the best of it.”
Diamonds suffered an injury blow of their own with Bowen being withdrawn.
But he was replaced by Tom Lorraine who returned following a hamstring problem while club captain Liam Dolman is in contention for tomorrow’s game after being an unused substitute at Deeping following a calf injury.
“Jack suffered a facial injury, we’re not sure whether he broke his nose or not but he needed stitches in his cheek,” Peaks said.
“The positive thing is that we used Tom Lorraine when we didn’t really want to risk him and he seems to have come through it unscathed.
“It was good to have him and Bully (Dolman) back in the squad.
“Bully is pretty much there now but I felt two games in three days would be a bit too much. He is certainly in contention now though.”