KINGSLEY JAMES admits a frank exchange of views in the Chester dressing room was needed during their 3-2 defeat against Sutton United.
The Blues produced their worst 45 minutes of the campaign so far as table toppers Sutton took a two-goal lead at the Swansway Chester Stadium, although Craig Mahon’s thunderous strike did reduce arrears just prior to half-time.
Midfielder James, a summer signing from Macclesfield Town, revealed Chester’s players ‘had words’ with each other at the break after accepting the first-half display was ‘nowhere near good enough’.
“Obviously we’re massively deflated, it’s very disappointing,” said the 25-year-old, who was key to a vastly improved second-half performance which saw Lucas Dawson equalise before Kieron Cadogan grabbed victory in stoppage time for the U’s.
“We know that first-half just wasn’t good enough, as a group it was nowhere near good enough. We looked really disorganised which we’re not, at all, and the goals we’ve conceded are poor.
“We can’t look at the defence and say it’s the defence’s fault because the first two goals there’s not much wrong from the defence’s point of view. But as a team we’ve given them a two-goal head start and you can’t do that in this league. You can’t afford to.
“There was a better work-rate, more fight, I don’t know what it takes to kick-start us, it shouldn’t take anything, we should do that ourselves.
“That’s what is so disappointing because it took until half-time, to have a few words with each other, a frank discussion, that’s what it took to get us going.
“We were by far the better team from then and to go and concede like we did is a sucker-punch really.
“We can't afford to do that, especially when we get back into games. It’s frustrating for everyone but we've got to move on quickly from that as we’ve got a game Saturday and we’ve got to perform like we did in the second-half for 90 minutes.
“If we can turn that half into 90 minutes, we’ll compete with anyone in this league. (Sutton) are on a good run and we made them look really average second-half, we were comfortable, in control, but we can’t afford to give two goals away.
“Two-goal head starts no matter who you are playing you can’t afford to give that away. We’ve got to start better as soon as possible.”
Jon McCarthy’s side produced comfortably their best 45 minutes of the season in that second-half, but James was left frustrated that it ultimately counted for nothing and made it 13 games without a win at home for Chester.
“Second-half we should’ve won the game, with the chances we created there was only one winner. At 2-2 we’ve done really well to get back into the game, performing at a high level in that second-half,” he continued.
“The disappointing thing is we’ve then allowed them to take all three points. We’ve given a cheap goal away and we’re defeated.
“If we take a point there, as much as it might sound negative to some people, we’re still unbeaten and it would’ve been a good performance but now it seems like an okay performance and we’ve lost.”
The Blues have back-to-back games next weekend away at Aldershot before a Bank Holiday clash with Macclesfield on Monday and James insists there’s no time to dwell on their fourth game without victory this campaign.
Asked if next weekend represents a chance to right the wrongs of the Sutton defeat, he replied: “Absolutely, we can’t dwell on games too much at this level.
“Whether you win or lose. If you dwell on a game when you’ve won, you can end up carrying some arrogance into the next game.
“If you dwell when you’ve lost, you take negative thoughts and feelings into games.
“We’ve got to forget about that, there’s 42 games left, we can’t be worrying or fearing anything at this point.
“We can’t be worrying about league tables or where we’re at or what anyone’s thoughts are, we’ve got to go in and perform.
“It’s a long season, we’re literally right at the start of it.
“It’s disappointing and we’ve got to turn that 45 minutes into 90 minutes as soon as possible.”
James’ team mate Mahon was equally disappointed with the defeat, especially after scoring for the Blues.
“Gutted about the result. Thought we deserved at least a point. But we will learn and come back better. Delighted to get a go,” Mahon tweeted.
See full story in the Chester Leader