Hastings United Football Club manager Chris Agutter said his team ‘gave up’ in the latter stages of Tuesday night’s defeat to Brighton & Hove Albion under-23s.
Hastings conceded three times during the final quarter to lose 4-0 at home to Albion’s youngsters in round three of the Sussex Senior Challenge Cup.
Speaking afterwards, Agutter said: “Tonight I thought we gave up. We had players that came off the bench that have been out the side and you think ‘prove a point’ and they’re not doing it at the minute, which is tough. We need more really.
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“It’s tough going at the minute and this is where you need players to step up - and they’re not stepping up.”
Agutter had no complaints about the scoreline as the Seagulls eased through to the quarter-finals.
“I thought they came on strong late on in the game,” he continued. “Obviously we missed a couple of chances, especially early on in the game, where I thought we started really well, but as the game settled down I thought they were pretty dominant and worthy of the win really.
“First half I thought we arrived at the final third really well, but the final ball wasn’t great or the final ball was decent and we didn’t get enough people on the end of the cross or the through pass for example.
“It was a bit disjointed in the final third. Getting there was alright, but when we got there it could’ve been a lot, lot better.
“When you’re asking Sam Adams to play right wing-back and he’s the best player for the team tonight, that says a lot. But unfortunately there’s not many Sam Adams’s around any more, which is why I made such a fuss of him over the 500 games a couple of weeks ago.
“He’s a dying breed and they’re the type of players that get you through the winter months. It’s all very well playing lovely pretty football in August, September and October, but when it gets a little bit heavy you need people to stand up and they’re not doing it at the minute.
“If it was easy Hastings would’ve been promoted four or five years ago. The players do need to step up. Myself and the staff work hard, we do our homework, I’m forever getting players come from other clubs saying ‘this is unbelievable, you’re so well prepared’ so there’s no excuses.”