Miles Rutherford is hopeful Chichester City’s home derby defeat to Pagham will prove a one-off – and a good performance in the FA Vase at Horley Town this weekend can be the springboard to a successful second half of the season.
The City manager was stunned by the 5-0 Lions loss but was heartened to see his team bounce back with a 4-1 win at Lancing on Saturday that sets them up for Saturday’s Vase last-32 clash away to the Combined Counties premier-division side near Gatwick.
Rutherford said: “The Pagham game was very disappointing. Obviously to lose 5-0 in a local derby is difficult to take. It’s not often you get beaten like that. It’s not something that’s happened personally to me before.
“But I’m prepared to deal with it. I’ve got things out of the players this year and the year before. I’m as happy as I can be all things considered. We’ve done well in theFA Vase again.
“We’ve got to give credit to Pagham on the day. But we were as bad as I’ve seen in all my time at the club.
“Sometimes you have to accept the players are going to have one bad game, I suppose, but collectively it doesn’t happen like that where you get all 11 players playing poorly in one game.
“Hopefully it’s a one-off. If it’s not then we’ve got serious problems. If Pagham play like that and acquit themselves like that all season then they’ll be challenging for the league.
“Sometimes you’ve got to take it on the chin and look at what’s happening around you. We’re doing okay this year. We’ve lost really poor games though, including Pagham.
“We’ve got a good squad but I’m struggling to think of one player that could take any pride out of what he gave us on Boxing Day. Over the two years I’ve been at Chichester this hasn’t happened once before.
“I know it’s hurting the players as much as it’s hurting me but fair play to Pagham. We’ll see where we are at the end of the season.
“At the end of the day there’s not much between us and Pagham and a few teams around us in terms of points. Haywards Heath have got a little gap but hopefully we’ll be up there at the end of the year.
“I’d love us to go on a little run now until the end of the season and pick up as many wins as we can. That goes without saying. We’ve been really good at home this year.
“As I said, sometimes you’ve got to accept that players are going to have an off-day – but it’s not often that all 11 let you down. They did against Pagham. They know that. I’ve told them so as well. Hopefully we’ll pick ourselves up from today.
“We will bounce back no doubt. We’ve got some very big games on the horizon. There’s a massive Vase game. If we do well in that then a lot of things will be forgotten and we can kick on from there.”