Oakham United boss Ryan Hunnings insists his players are determined to right the wrongs of their midweek derby drubbing.
United went down to a 6-2 home defeat against near neighbours Melton Town after conceding five goals inside the opening 30 minutes of the United Counties League Division One contest.
Hunnings was fuming with the performance of his players in a match they had highlighted as a chance to bring in some much-needed points.
But he believes his charges will be going all out to make amends when they travel to mid-table Irchester United on Saturday.
Hunnings said: “It was the worst we have played since I have been at the club.
“We didn’t turn up until half-time. We were like a rabbit in headlights.
“I expected us to get something from the game and set us up for the run of matches over Christmas, but we didn’t come out of the blocks and it was the sort of performance where you’re ripping your hair out.”
Oakham were much-improved after the break and goals from Tiago Camilo and Cameron Brookes gave them the bragging rights in the second half.
However, the damage had already been done in the opening period as Chris Hibbert headed home identical goals from a corner while Zac Ginvert grabbed a hat-trick for the visitors.
Hunnings added: “We always looked like conceding from corners when I took over and I thought I had fixed the problem.
“We had worked on a lot of things in training so I don’t understand what went wrong, which is very frustrating.
“We have now got a team of young, hungry lads who have got the quality and experience of United Counties League football.
“I told them at half-time to win the second half and we have come out and showed what we are capable of.
“The work-rate and commitment was there and that had been missing in the first half.
“It’s the first half of football we’ve won since the end of August and the most goals we’ve scored in a game so I’ve got to look at the positives.
“Tiago came on and was fantastic.
“He’s not fully fit yet after being out injured, but he showed a lot of quality.”
Saturday’s trip to Irchester is followed next weekend by a home clash with basement side S&L Corby who this week parted company with manager Ian Benjamin.
The Foundrymen have lost all 20 league games so far this season and currently trail second-from-bottom Oakham by six points.
Hunnings added: “I looked at these three games at the start of the month and couldn’t see any reason why we wouldn’t get seven points so Tuesday’s defeat was very frustrating.
“The players I’ve brought in have all come from Peterborough League or United Counties League clubs who were doing well so they shouldn’t be low on confidence.
“The players are still hungry to take the club back up the table though because I don’t want to ruin the good work that everyone has done before to get the club in this league.
“This club is too big for the Peterborough League now and the players know what I expect of them, so we’re got a massive second half of the season coming up.
“We put in some fantastic performances against the likes of Pinchbeck and Blackstones but, in the games we have earmarked as ones we can get results in, we haven’t turned up which is really disappointing.
“These are the games we have to be getting something from now and, from what the lads have been saying, they are determined to put it right.”