Rod Stringer admitted it was a bad day at the office as his Chelmsford City side suffered a surprise 2-0 National League South defeat at the hands of Oxford City at Marsh Lane.
Ezra Forde and Godfrey Poku claimed the home side’s goals, while the Clarets miserable afternoon was completed when Josh Rees was given his marching orders for a mistimed challenge on Poku.
Speaking after the match, Stringer said: “It was just one of those days. Fortunately, we haven’t had too many of them since I’ve been at the club. The bigger picture is that we’ve almost achieved our goal of reaching the play-offs. That still looks favourable.
“You can’t really put your finger on it. Nobody wants to make excuses after a game like that because we had ninety minutes to get everything right. But with respect to Oxford City, they approached the game strongly, they had a game plan and it worked for them. Meanwhile, we never got to grips with what they were doing.
“I can see why they played the way they did. It was a tough playing surface, we found it difficult to play any football on it. You needed to put the ball in the right areas and work hard. To be fair to them, they did it better than us on the day.”
Stringer was frustrated with a number of aspects of his side’s display, adding: “Both of the goals were preventable from our point of view. I thought we looked a little out of sorts, especially without Anthony Church, Chris Bush, Bagasan Graham and Max Porter. They are big players for us.
“It was perhaps a little bit of a surprise to us, but credit to Oxford who worked hard and did what they had to do. We huffed and puffed, we needed a goal but passed us a couple of decent chances. There were very few clear-cut opening in the game. Neither goalkeeper had a vast amount to do.
The Clarets chief continued: “The game reminded me of the away game at Poole Town earlier in the season. We got off the coach and wasn’t really feeling it. It was tough, I felt for the supporters who had travelled.
“As I said, the pitch was tough. It was a dustbowl with dandelions, I’ve never seen anything like it! However, it was eleven v eleven, we should have done better and I’ve told them that. It was an all round bad day at the office, we can’t really say any more than that.
“We’ve got to dust ourselves down, move on to Welling United, and do a lot better.”