Manager Mark Ducket described Eynesbury Rovers’ first defeat of the United Counties League Premier Division season as a ‘massive reality check’.
Title-chasing Rovers saw a five-match winning run coming to an end when suffering a surprise 3-2 reverse at Daventry Town last Saturday – despite playing against 10 men for more than 80 minutes.
The hosts had Robbie Parsons dismissed early on, but that didn’t stop them easing ahead thanks to goals eight minutes before and four minutes after the break.
Rovers quickly hauled themselves level thanks to two Declan Rogers goals in the space of three minutes, but they were undone again with a quarter-of-an-hour to go before seeing Gentle dismissed in the final minute for use of an elbow.
Boss Ducket admitted: “We started the season very well, but we had only really been tested in one of our previous five league games.
“We went to Daventry with a makeshift team and without any fit substitutes – and that certainly didn’t help.
“This result is a massive reality check. We know we have plenty of quality footballers, but it showed that we need to toughen up.
“Every other tackle from Daventry was a foul, but it was an approach that worked for them and it is something we need to get used to dealing with.
“We’ll have a chat in-house during this week to go over the game and make sure there is no repeat.
“We’ve not got to make sure we bounce back from a bad day. Doing that is the sign of a really good team.”
Ducket only had 10 available players until drafting in midfielder Danny Draper on loan from higher-level Stamford AFC late last Friday.
Striker Craig Smith, midfielder Hayden Bream and full-back Michael Mackrell were all on a stag do, while defender Jonny Hall and frontman Josh Bamford were also away. Jack Warwick and Rob Ducket are both out injured, James Ducket has work commitments and Darren Woodend has departed.
Several of those players are expected to return for a run of four home games in 11 days – starting with a Premier Division clash against Harborough this Saturday – while Ducket is considering a move to bolster his attacking options. His target is understood to be Royston man Matt Nolan.
Rovers then entertain Yaxley in the second round of the UCL KO Cup on Tuesday (September 19).
* Ducket confirmed Eynesbury have reported Daventry boss Aaron Parkinson to the Football Association following a flare-up as the teams left the pitch for half-time.