JIM Vince has no doubt where the blame lies for Monday’s thrashing by title rivals Fleetwood, Witton Albion’s first home defeat of the season.
“Blame me,” he said, and added he did not know what the long term damage to the team might be.
But Witton could find history repeating itself. When they won the same championship in 1991 their only home defeat was against Fleetwood.
“I hope there’s no adverse reaction. I expect to see us bounce back against Lincoln at home on Saturday.
“I take accolades when things are going well, so I’ll take responsibility for what was a very poor performance.”
Albion only had to avoid defeat to remain in the UniBond League championship driving seat.
But now 3-0 winners Fleetwood can overhaul Albion’s eight point lead with three games in hand.
Albion though have four of their five remaining games at home.
Vince said: “They had the quality, will and desire to win. They were the better side. Six important Witton players were awful. Why didn’t we perform? I don’t know, but we never looked like scoring.
“We’ve got five games left and we’ll win them. It was a blip. They have still got to catch us.”
Vince raised eyebrows by appearing to name a five-man midfield, in the absence of Rod Thornley, on England physio duty.
“We played the same at Gateshead and no-one questioned it then. I was trying to stretch the play against a team that had not conceded a goal in four games. I think I got the tactics right,” he said.
Mark Peers, with free kick that veered wide at the last second and an injury time effort tipped over the bar by Danny Hurst, provided the only threats.
Albion were a shambles and it was painful to watch a team that has dominated the title race all season appear so slow witted against much sharper opponents.
In football parlance Fleetwood were up for it and scored through Kieran Walmsley (10 minutes), Andy Bell (34) and Jamie Milligan (77). Walmsley also hit a post.
WITTON: Kennedy; Coo (Kearney 43), Barras, Pritchard, Brownhill; Peers, Lloyd (Evans 78), MacPherson (Rapley 45), Brown, Brodie; Warlow.
Match Rating: 6/10
Saturday’s Wincham Park visitors Lincoln United are bottom. Kick off is 3pm. Witton have no midweek game, but Fleetwood visit Buxton on Tuesday.