Derby defeat sums up Stones’ season
Joint boss Lee Clarke felt his side’s derby defeat to Bourne Town on Wednesday night summed up his side’s season.
Stones let a 3-1 lead slip in the final 20 minutes of the United Counties League Division One clash at Lincoln Road as Bourne bagged a 4-3 derby victory.
The defeat came after Stones had produced a super showing in Saturday’s 4-1 home win over Buckingham.
And it left Clarke questioning the character of his players in the dressing room as they dropped down to eighth place in the league standings.
He said: “We produced a great performance on Saturday and for half-an-hour on Wednesday night we again did everything right.
“We played high up the pitch, offered options when we had the ball, had good tempo and were dictating the game.
“I don’t know why but, when we are put under pressure, we invite it on ourselves even more.
“When Bourne got their second goal on Wednesday night, everyone seemed to sense what was going to happen.
“It’s very frustrating because there seems to be something in our mind-set when things are not going our way.
“I don’t know if there is enough character in the changing room to step up when it’s needed because it’s happened three or four times to us this season.
“We stop doing the right things. We seem to switch on and off and it’s hard to put a finger on why that’s happening.”
Stones were also aggrieved at the late penalty decision which saw Bourne bag their 88th minute winner after the experienced Gareth Jelleyman was penalised for a push in the box.
The home side earlier had what they felt to be stronger claims turned down when Clarke appeared to be felled by Wakes goalkeeper Alex Brown with his side leading 3-1.
Clarke commented: “I don’t think anybody in the ground thought it was a penalty for Bourne’s winning goal.
“If there was 10 people screaming in the referee’s face then he has got a decision to make, but nobody appealed. It’s the sort of thing that happens in every game. It’s part and parcel.
“I thought their goalkeeper took me out. It was at least a 50/50 decision. I didn’t think it was a big thing at the time but, when you look back, it would have given us the chance to go 4-1 ahead and really take the wind out of Bourne’s sails.”
Stones end their campaign this weekend with two matches in 24 hours as they travel to Lutterworth Town on Saturday for a league match before taking on Cottesmore in Sunday’s Daniels Cup clash at the Zeeco Stadium.
Clarke continued: “Our season has petered out in the last three or four weeks so it would be nice to finish off with a trophy.
“The squad is a little bit stretched so players will be involved in both games.
“Lutterworth is a tough place to go. They will want to end their home campaign on a high, but hopefully we can come through it and then end on a high ourselves in the final on Sunday.”