MANAGER Mark Ashford said the ending of Witham Town's unbeaten run would be "worth it" if their players could respond to it positively.

While Ashford was disappointed with the manner of his team's 2-0 Bostik League division north defeat at Mildenhall Town last weekend, he said it had highlighted to his players what was required for them to see success at this level.

And he feels if they put that knowledge into practice in the correct way - starting at Grays Athletic on Saturday - then the frustration of the loss at Mildenhall would have been worthwhile.

He said: "Sometimes losing like that is just one of those things, but the players now understand what happens when you don't get to the levels that we have been at recently.

"But they do know what it takes and they now have to respond.

"I said to the boys that the best way to respond to seeing an unbeaten run end is to start another unbeaten run.

"We're at Grays Athletic on Saturday now and while it's a tough place to go, it's a challenge that I hope the players will relish because a lot of the little things that we had improved on went backwards at Mildenhall.

"The little things that make the difference between winning and not winning at this level; things like movement in the box and crosses into the box, things that we have been working on tirelessly in training.

"We didn't do them as we had been and I felt we let ourselves down a bit.

"Fair play to Mildenhall as they played reasonably well and did what they had to do, but I was disappointed.

"Disappointed, not by the result because we were always going to lose again at some point, but by the manner of how we lost the game.

"Hopefully what comes out of this, though, is that everyone gets their heads together and realises that this is what happens the moment you step away from the culture of what we have been doing in that fantastic run.

"It will be worth it if that happens and they respond correctly.

"Sometimes it is worth taking a backward step, but only if you then move forward from it.

"As long as we get straight back to doing the right things, then I won't worry and we'll pick it up again."

Defender Andrew Tirivanhu and goalkeeper Luca Collins both missed the trip to Mildenhall with injuries picked up in the win against Brentwood the previous week and Ashford said they would be assessed ahead of the trip to Gray Athletic on Saturday.

The Witham boss was thankful for Needham Market allowing him to have Finlay Shorten as cover for Collins last week and added he would be speaking with Marketmen boss Richard Wilkins this week about the possibility of keeping hold of their keeper if he was still required.