Fleet boss Kevin Watson admitted he was shellshocked after Chesterfield’s last half-hour blitz that saw the scoreline accelerate from goalless to 4-0 in double quick time.
And the manager didn’t tone down his words in the aftermath.
“We don’t just lose when we lose,” he said. “We capitulate and in that last 20, 25 minutes we did.
“I’m just shellshocked by that last 25 minutes and to concede four goals in that time. Nathan Tyson’s come on for them, I know him well having played with him at Reading and it was a fantastic first goal. But the second goal was poor on our part, the third goal was poor on our part and the fourth goal was terrible on our part.”
Watson’s defensive options were hit by an early injury to Ayo Obileye and Marvel Ekpiteta had to depart later in the game but the manager maintained his side should still have withstood some of what Chesterfield threw at them.
“It doesn’t help when I lose two centre halves in a game, Ayo and Marv who have both been very good for me in recent weeks. I then have to put a right-winger / forward / No.10 at right back and that doesn’t help either when you’re putting square pegs in round holes but you still have to know how to defend.
“So all in all it’s a tremendously disappointing last 25. Up until that point I was quite comfortable, I don’t think Chesterfield really troubled us and even ardent Chesterfield fans would say that. But the fact of the matter is we’ve come off the end of a 4-0 scoreline and we are running out of games. The players are fully aware of that.
“It’s a difficult one because we passed it well to a point but there was no end product. There wasn’t enough end product getting in and around the box, the final pass was getting cut out or not quite getting to its target, getting cut out by their near men. The final cross was simply not good enough. I’m incredibly disappointed and it’s difficult to come out and speak at the minute because it was literally a case of losing the second half of the second half.”
And Watson had a word for the 126 travelling supporters who had backed their side in this bottom-four showdown.
“They’ve come here in their numbers, Saturday afternoon, all the way to Chesterfield, still banging the drum, still singing at the end,” he praised. “They’re a terrific group who have stuck with us but the last 20 minutes, if I was in there with them, I’d have been throwing my toys out of the pram and booing.”