Mark Jones has issued a stark warning to his players after his Oxford City side slipped into the bottom three following a 3-2 home defeat to fellow strugglers Poole Town.
The City boss has demanded more from his players otherwise the club will only go one way – and that’s down.
Jones’ side are now winless in nine league matches and Saturday’s defeat at Court Place Farm meant their visitors leapfrogged them in the National League South table and pushed the Hoops into the relegation zone.
Oxford dominated possession but, once again, they failed to convert their authority into goals as they conceded at least two goals for the eighth time in their last nine league games.
Jones said: “We’ve [the management] got to work very hard to put it right but we need more from some of the lads.
“We look at ourselves but I need players to be doing better for me than they are.
“I don’t think they’re bad lads or anything like that but to win a game of football sometimes you have to be prepared to put your neck on the line and maybe we’re too nice.”
Matt Paterson reacted fastest to hook home a loose ball and put the home side ahead on 20 minutes.
Warren Bentley equalised for Poole just before half time before putting the Dolphins ahead with a simple finish on 68 minutes.
Jez Bedford fired home 10 minutes later to put the game to bed when City were caught on the break piling bodies forward.
Admitting it was “a really, really bad result for us”, Jones added: “It was a game that we needed to win. It was a great opportunity for us to do that but we haven’t done the job.
“We don’t seem to be learning, we seem to be guilty of repeating the same mistakes over again.”
City host Bognor Regis Town in the fourth qualifying round of the FA Cup on Saturday.