FRUSTRATED FC Clacton manager Kieron Shelley admitted his side were the architects of their own downfall in Saturday’s 4-2 defeat at home to Gorleston.
The Seasiders conceded inside the first minute and more poor defending led to another costly loss.
They remain second-from-bottom in the Thurlow Nunn League premier division - six points behind Wivenhoe Town and seven adrift of Hadleigh United.
And Shelley insists that if his side are to stand any chance of clambering out of the bottom three, they have to sharpen up and be ready from the first whistle.
“We tried to come out as we finished last week (when Clacton beat Saffron Walden Town 2-0), with real intensity and everyone pressing and working hard,” said the Clacton boss.
“Instead, we found ourselves behind after 45 seconds.
“It was the worst possible start and we ended up gifting all four of Gorleston’s goals, by not doing the basics right.
“They didn’t have to work for their goals. They didn’t have to move the ball around and that was really disappointing.
“We gave them a leg-up and let ourselves down time and again, by not being switched on.
“When we play other teams they’re switched on for 90 minutes, whereas we tend to want to play and win the game in 30 minutes.
“That’s a mammoth task. You could have an amazing half-hour and score six goals, but that’s a fairytale. The penny needs to drop with the players that they’re in a dogfight, down the bottom of the table, and you’ve got to go out and fight from the very first whistle.
“We just weren’t at the races and it was so annoying.”
Both of Clacton’s goals were close-range efforts by Adam Daniels, making it 2-1 and then 4-2.
Indecision in defence meant keeper Paddi Hawkins had no choice but to come out and head clear from inside the D.
However, his effort went straight to a visiting player and they eventually slotted into an unguarded net.
Gorleston scored again soon after, this time with an unstoppable effort that flashed in via the underside of the bar.
Clacton went close through Jake Clowsley and Sam Cripps before pulling one back early in the second half, thanks to a close-range effort from Adam Daniels, after Kevin Coyle’s free-kick.
But title-chasing Gorleston added a third after the break, followed by a late fourth.
Daniels then scored an even later goal, again from close range after another free-kick, to complete the scoring.
And despite his disappointment, Shelley is still optimistic about the overall progress being made by his players.
“At the end of the day, this group have only been together a few months,” he said.
“We train once a week, twice if we’re lucky, and it’s hard getting everything right.
“We’re asking a lot and maybe our expectations are too high, given the position we’re in.
“But this is a squad I believe could challenge in the top half of the table next season and I still think we can get out of the bottom three.
“It was never going to be easy and we’re not going to get the result we’re after every week, but we’re not being outplayed and outclassed.
“We’re beating ourselves by making mistakes and by next season those errors will hopefully be ironed out.
“I’ll work hard at it and so will the players. They’re trying their best. If you can see your faults and address your faults you’ve got half a chance of putting things right.
“We’ve got to get our heads up and puff our chests out. We’ve got to go again and show everyone that we’re prepared to fight for survival.”
Clacton are back at the Rush Green Bowl on Saturday, for a match against Kirkley and Pakefield.