HIS side’s chances of avoiding relegation are receding – but South Shields boss Jon King has vowed to continue the fight until the end.
King’s outfit languish second bottom of the Ebac Northern League’s first division and are currently 17 points adrift of safety.
And his players copped a post match blasting after going down 2-0 against Ashington at Woodhorn Lane on Saturday.
A seething King said: “We came to face Ashington supposedly scrapping for our lives, but I didn’t think we had any real scrap from the lads – none at all.
“We are in a relegation battle and against Dunston 48 hours earlier we had lads scrapping for the cause, even though we lost 4-0 and had two players sent off.
“But today we didn’t have the same desire or commitment.
“I thought we were in the game which was even without us playing well, and the big chance for me was Stephen Ramsey’s second half opportunity which he put over.
“We had a spell of five to ten minutes, and if that chance had gone in then it’s a different story.
“It would have been 1-1 and you don’t have to go chasing the game.
“Instead, I changed the system and Ashington exposed us with an overload of us having more players going forward because we had to go for it.
“I thought 1-0 down it might as well be 3-0, so I put an extra man upfront and Ashington hit us on the counter with a goal at the back stick.
“However, the big picture for me is that we have come here second bottom of the table and although we have played alright, the bottom line is if you want to stop up and survive in this division, playing OK isn’t enough.
“You’ve got to scrap. Two or three players may have marked themselves seven or eight out of ten, but you don’t deserve to win games if you only have three players at the top of their game out of an outfield ten.”
King was annoyed as his side went behind after 13 minutes.
“I thought Ashington were better in both boxes and we knew they would be a threat from set pieces,” he said.
“The lads were warned yet the first goal we conceded was a set piece, and not only did Ashington win the first header but also the next.
“The lads all had jobs to do and it was very disappointing.
“We have worked on defending set pieces and it should have been much better.
“You don’t mind losing to a world class goal but it was horrendous.
“I thought overall we possibly deserved to scrape a draw, but the nitty gritty is that the lads didn’t give ten out of ten in all departments.
“However, the boss is refusing to give up the fight.
“Survival is still possible, and if we had been at the top of our game, then we would have got something here today, whether it be a point or three points.
“You have got to play out of your skin and like you really want it from the start, but it was like an end of season or pre-season game today.
“We have got nine games left and we’ve got to try and get as many points as possible.
“If we win nine games then we stop up but we need to play out of the top drawer and give everything we’ve got.
“We are certainly not throwing in the towel. We’ll scrap until the end of the season – something which we didn’t do today.”