MANAGER Mark Ashford was more disappointed with the manner of his team’s defeat than the result itself as Witham Town’s seven-game unbeaten run in Bostik League division north was ended with a 2-0 loss at Mildenhall Town.

Witham had been on a superb upturn in form since late November, with a 17-point haul lifting them clear of the relegation zone and on to the coat tails of the sides occupying the mid-table berths, but they were given a reality check at Mildenhall.

It was two own goals - off Kevin Coyle and Danny Norton - in the first half that won the game for the hosts and Ashford said his team’s performance was not at the levels that he had seen them reach as they put together their fantastic run.

“We were going to lose at some point and I’d said that to the players,” said Ashford.

“We hadn’t lost since November 20 so I can’t be too harsh on them, but they are an honest bunch and they accepted that they hadn’t reached the same levels that they had in our previous games recently.

“We got away with it against Brentwood (in the previous game) because of how we played in the second half, but we didn’t this time.

“We conceded twice in the first half (at Mildenhall) and the things that have been going for us just didn’t in this game and we didn’t get the rub of the green.

“We hit the post twice in the first half and missed two half chances, but in all honesty, the levels just weren’t there in the way they had been.

“We needed to have them there because we were up against a side who had a new manager and we’d warned the players about that and what to expect after a long journey to get there.

“In my eyes, it was a six-pointer because we were seven points above them and we’d have been ten had we won with a good buffer to a side below us, but now that’s down to just four points and they have momentum from that win.

“So I was disappointed that we didn’t get ourselves up for the game in the way that we wanted to be.”

Having fallen two goals behind in the first half, Ashford said he did see a reaction from his team after the break, but key moments didn’t go their way.

The Witham boss added: “The players were disappointed and we saw that at half-time when we were 2-0 down.

“We spoke then and the players are an honest bunch who recognised that they were not at the levels they needed to be and they realised they needed to step it up in the second half if we were going to stand a chance of holding on to our run.

“We did see some response as we kept the ball better and we were in their half of the pitch for longer periods, but we didn’t fire in key moments.

“We had about ten to 12 shooting opportunities in that second half, but we didn’t really ever test the keeper with any of them.

“Had we scored, then I think it would have been a different game as we’d have had momentum, but it didn’t come.”

Witham will look to bounce back quickly from the defeat and kickstart another unbeaten run when they head to Grays Athletic on Saturday and Ashford said a couple of players would have their fitness assessed after not being available for the trip to Mildenhall.

“We had to reshuffle things because we had a couple of players unavailable and that didn’t help us,” said Ashford.

“One of the things I’d talked about in that unbeaten run we had was our consistency, especially in the back five unit, and while the result at Mildenhall was no reflection on players who came in, I think you could see a difference.

“But we can’t blame that and the main thing was that we just didn’t get ourselves to the same levels we have been before.

“The midfield have been fantastic recently and made a real difference in not allowing teams to get through us.

“They have restricted the work that the defence and keeper have had to do, but I felt we were easier to play through on Saturday.

“We weren’t retaining possession well enough in the first half and the ball was coming straight back at us too often.”