BLYTH Spartans FC manager Mick Tait was in part rubbing the sleep out of his eyes on Sunday morning and in part rubbing them in continued disbelief.
“I woke up and thought about the game at Boston and still couldn’t believe how we could dominate a match and still come out 5-0 losers,” he said.
“The scoreline in no way reflected the match. We were in control for the first 40 minutes but still went in three goals down at half-time.”
Tait’s side certainly started brightly on a sweltering afternoon.
Paul Brayson, Michael Tait and Stephen Turnbull all came close to putting the Spartans ahead before Robbie Dale had to leave the pitch with blurred vision after being struck in the face by the ball.
The malaise appeared to be contagious as within minutes his team-mates lost their own focus and allowed the Pilgrims to sail into a three-goal lead, all in the space of five first half minutes.
“They were three really good finishes,” Tait conceded.
Faced with such a large deficit at the interval, Tait chose to adopt an attacking policy.
“If we’d only been two goals down then maybe we could have gone out cautiously, tried not to concede another, score and then push on, but with it being three we it had to go for it,” he said.
“I pushed John Alexander up front with Brayson. Tait, Turnbull and Nicky Deverdics were employed higher up the park with only Neal Hooks really left in midfield on his own. I didn’t want to go out on a whimper, we couldn’t just sit back.
“We continued to create chances and we had them on the back foot again but, at the end of the day, Boston had a purpose – to secure a play-off place, we didn’t and that was the difference. Their intent was obvious.
“I thought some of the refereeing decisions were debatable, which adds to the pressure when you’re down, plus we gave the ball away sometimes.
“Give Boston their due they went for the jugular being very direct and precise in front of goal, despite them not being able to handle the way we played for a lot of the game.
“It could have finished 5-5 or even with more goals!
“In the second half I turned to Swazz [assistant manager Chris Swailes] and said that we’d only been looking towards the sun and the Boston goal watching us going forward.”
The home side took advantage of two slip ups in the Blyth defence during the final five minutes of the game with Shane Clarke and substitute Adam Boyes tapping in from close range.
If anything resulted in Tait and his players leaving Lincolnshire with red faces, it was the heat from the sun rather than any embarrassment after a result which was hard to swallow but a performance which, although lacking clinical finishing, was nevertheless admirable.