NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: Big crowd, bad weather and a disappointing result as Whittlesey Athletic suffer losing start
PUBLISHED: 14:40 31 July 2019
Player-boss Ricky Hailstone admitted his Whittlesey Athletic players were taught a harsh lesson in their return to the United Counties League.
The promoted side were beaten 2-1 by Huntingdon Town in their Division One curtain-raiser last Sunday - a fixture which formed part of a groundhop event in the area and attracted a terrific crowd of 340 despite some miserable weather.
All three of the goals arrived in the closing 20 minutes with debutant Matt Ilsley heading Whittlesey level only seconds after they fell behind, but they were left empty-handed by a stunning winner from visiting player Chris Jones with six minutes to go.
But Hailstone was left to rue the failure of his side to turn their dominance into goals in the first half when Matt Heron, James Hill-Seekings and Harry Jenkins were all denied by Town keeper Sarunas Snitkas.
"I'm very pleased for the club to have got such a big crowd, but I'm disappointed about the result," said Hailstone.
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"We should have been out of sight by half-time and it shows the need to take our chances at this level of football.
"It's something we need to learn from as we could easily have been 3-0 or 4-0 ahead in a game where we have ended up with nothing.
"It was pleasing that we responded so quickly after going behind, but frustrating to then concede again late on.
"We can't allow players to have time and space to shoot from 20-25 yards as they will hurt us.
"We weren't good enough collectively in the second half, but overall I think we showed that we can compete well at this level."
Whittlesey are back on home turf this Saturday when hosting Lutterworth Athletic, 3pm.
The Leicestershire side also started last weekend as part of the groundhop tour and were beaten 4-0 by Burton Park Wanderers