MANAGER Paul Collicutt apologised for Evesham United’s performance as part of a damning assessment of Saturday’s 2-0 defeat to Winchester City.

Goals from City captain Jamie Barron and substitute Tyrell Mitford consigned the play-off chasing Robins to a third defeat in four Southern League Division One South matches.

It marked Winchester’s seventh match without defeat and moved them to within four points of Evesham with three games in hand but despite the form of their rivals, Collicutt said his troops had to look closer to home.

“Over the time I have been at the club we have set standards. I would like to think they have been at a good level but unfortunately we got nowhere near them on Saturday,” he said.

“You get defeats but there are good ways of being beaten and bad ways. Saturday’s was not a good performance, the standards expected by me and the supporters were not met.

“It was not a good day for us at all. We underperformed and I was very disappointed.

“I will never ask a player to do something he is not capable of and it does not matter how bad a game you have, you can still talk and run about.

“Our energy levels were not good and over the 90 minutes we were weak.

“We were not good and I would like to apologise, it was not good enough and far from what I expect.”

Next up is Saturday’s trip to Larkhall Athletic (3pm) and the chase for the top five is very congested with fourth-placed Evesham just nine points clear of seventh-bottom Highworth Town.

“We have 10 games left and 30 points to play for, we have to respond,” said Collicutt.

“It has been tight and it is getting even tighter. We have to pull our finger out and sooner rather than later.

“This season could go right down to the wire. There are 10, 11 or 12 teams that could still make the cut if they put a run together, it is that close.

“It could make for an exciting finish but we must win games to make sure we're in with a shout."

Midfielder Joe Turley missed Saturday through illness and will be assessed alongside injured trio Liam Harding, Nick Hancock and Toumani Sidibe.

One player that should be involved is winger Adam Page who has returned from a spell at Rushall Olympic.

“It came out of the blue but I am really pleased to have Adam back on board,” said Collicutt.

“He is a player I like and one that brings balance to the side. I was very disappointed when he went to Rushall but it did not work out for him.

“I would like to say a big thank you to Rushall for waiving the seven-day notice period so we could get it done right away.”

Robins: Hannah, Dovey, Wellon, Hancock (Brown, 68), Fisher, Harding, Thomas (Davidge, 83), Williams, Kane Simpson, Kye Simpson (Page, 55), Davies. Unused sub: Price.

Attendance: 227.