North Notts Hockey Club boss Jay Faulkner is urging this players to step up their game after they stuttered to a 3-2 defeat against a well organised but average Stratford side on Saturday.
It looked like Notts had drawn level at the death before they had the potential equaliser chalked off to the frustration of the Notts players.
Speaking after the game boss Jay Faulkner said: “Were disappointed again, but our luck has to change.
“We really thought the equaliser should have stood and are disappointed but we move on. The league is really tight and today we feel again we had the quality to win so we won’t give in. Players really have to up their game now the pressure is on.”
Notts went into the game showing indifferent form and suffering from a large dose of bad luck from last week’s game.
The game started with early pressure from Stratford and their first good opportunity came from a short corner on seven minutes after Anthony Clay conceded due to a rash tackle.
Two minutes later Notts hit the front when Allen Butler played in Josh Singleton who drilled home.
A minute later Notts could have been two goals up when a great interchange between the Butler cousin’s and Smith created an opening for William Butler, who failed to get the shot off.
Stratford restored parity on 15 minutes when Clay conceded through a foot in the “D”. Unwin in the Notts goal made two good saves to deny the initial strikes but with the Notts defence were caught ball watching and Stratford drilled home.
Ten minutes into the second half it all started to fall apart for Notts when Barton made a rash tackle in the Notts “D” to concede a short corner.
Again Unwin made the initial save, but Notts defence were not quick enough to react and Stratford took control to finish and take the lead.
Three minutes later Stratford delivered the killer blow for Notts to go 3-1 in the lead.
Notts then through the kitchen sink at Stratford and were rewarded with a goal through Allen Butler after a succession of penalty corners.
With 20 minutes remaining Notts pushed hard and had complete dominance of the pitch with Stratford now reduced to sporadic breakaways to run down time.
With four minutes remaining the game defining decision was made, after a scramble in the “D” Will Butler flicked the ball home to leave the spectators ecstatic, then heartbroken as the umpire disallowed the goal due to an infringement.
With the clock running down Notts were awarded a penalty corner in the last seconds.
With the whistle for time blown this was Notts final throw of the dice, with all players around the circle Notts moved the ball around, unfortunately Stratford were equal to the Notts move and cleared their lines to take all three points and move second in the league.