Oakham United joint boss Andy Saddington says his side was handed a “reality check” after his side lost 6-4 at home to Deeping Rangers Reserves on Saturday.
United were missing four key players including skipper Eddie McDonald and the league’s top scorer Nathan Arkle but Saddington said there were no excuses.
“Our defending was poor,” he said.
“We didn’t work hard enough and we didn’t mark tightly enough. To concede six at home is not good enough.
“I think it is a bit of a reality check for some of the players.
He added: “The lads have only been beaten once this season and perhaps took it for granted that we would keep winning.”
Deeping were two goals ahead by the time Will Lee pulled one back for Oakham.
But the opening ten minutes of the second half were a defensive disaster for Oakham who conceded three headers from corners to go 5-1 behind.
Tony Maher scored a second for Oakham, but the home side then gave away a penalty to concede a miserable sixth.
At 6-2 down, Oakham began to play much better with Alex Brockbank and Richard Nelson scoring United’s third and fourth.
“It was too little, too late,” said Saddington, whose side face second-placed Moulton Harrox away on Saturday.
Oakham: Shane Hicks, Craig Welbourne, Craig Ward, ben Cox, Ben DIckenson, Tony Maher (Tom Gregg), Richard Nelson, Robbie Dance, James Twose, Alex Brockbank, Will Lee (Steve Smith).
Match sponsor: Match Browning Suzuki. Ball sponsor: GB Welding.
Oakham United A progressed to the third round of the Leicestershire County Cup with a 3-2 win away against Enderby Mission United.
Oakham, who were without six regular starters, were 1-0 up after five minutes. Darren Short was fouled 20 yards out and Rik Phoenix’s scuffed free kick fell to Matt Perry, who slotted home from close range.
Danny Williams and Jamie Palmer had chances to extend Oakham’s lead while Andy Collin made vital saves and Martin Owers cleared off of the line at the other end.
Oakham extended their lead when Short squared the ball to an unmarked Phoenix for the simplest of finishes, and they made it 3-0 soon after. Great work on the left from Williams led to another free kick and Perry’s floated ball was deflected into the Enderby net.
Enderby pulled one back just before half-time and the second half was a more even sided affair.
With 10 minutes to go, Enderby scored their second and Oakham were forced to defend on the edge of their own area for the rest of the match.
Enderby had the ball in the net with a minute to go but the goal was ruled offside and Oakham went thorugh.
Oakham boss Dave Grieve said: “I’m pleased with the way we started and that we’ve progressed to the next round but we nearly threw the game away.
“Andy kept us in the lead on several occasions and made some vital saves.”
Oakham A: A Collin; M Owers, D Palmer, M Reeson, D Short; J Palmer, D Baines, B Eshelby (J Forbes), D Williams; M Perry, R Phoenix. Sub unused: D Grieve.