Berkhamsted manager Mick Vipond has called for more hunger from his players following their 3-1 home defeat to Cockfosters on Saturday.
It was a frustrating display from Berkhamsted and continued a disappointing run of form which has seen them slip out of contention for the SSML Premier Division title.
“It all went completely wrong,” said Vipond, “If there’s one thing I’d like to say it is that we can’t use the amount of football we are playing as an excuse.
“It’s the same for the other teams that we are playing and Cockfosters were just hungrier than us on Saturday.
“From completely dominating the first 30 minutes we have gone on to lose the game 3-1.
“We’ve still got players out injured, but in all honesty we just weren’t hungry enough.”
Vipond welcomed back Steve Hawes, Dale Sears and Josh Chamberlain from injury on Saturday and the Comrades made a flying start as Frankie Jowle fed Chamberlain to cross for Sears to head home.
A Jamie Gavin header was scrambled clear at the Canal End as the first quarter belonged to Berko, but they were made to pay for not converting further chances.
Cockfosters were back on level terms after 37 minutes as Adam Ali cut in from the left wing and scored with a shot that went in off the inside of the far post.
Ex-Lilywhite Craig McKay scored with a shot through a crowded penalty area to put the visitors in front in the 55th minute, and Berko continued to struggle for the remainder of the half.
The third Cockfosters goal was a poor one from a defensive point of view as there were plenty of Berko bodies in the penalty area, but nobody marking Bilal Butt netted with ease to wrap up the win.
Having sat at the top of the table for large parts of the season, the Comrades now find themselves in fourth place, and Vipond is demanding a response from his team.
“We wanted third place but now we have to pull our fingers out to make sure we get fourth,” he said.
“The frustrating thing is that we have got virtually the same squad that we have been using for the last eight months when we were top of the table.
And the Berko boss says he already has an eye on next season.
“I’m working hard off the pitch to make sure that things are much better next season,” he said.
“We need the squad to be stronger. I need more experience and need to bring in some stronger personalities.
“I’ve said to the players that if they want to be part of a promotion-winning side, then they need to be performing better than they are at the moment.”
Next up for Berko is a home clash with Biggleswade United on Saturday.