Donnelly: Slow starts are continuing to cost us

George Gaskin grabbed a consolation in Shoreham's defeat at Walton Casuals on Saturday. Picture by David Jeffery
George Gaskin grabbed a consolation in Shoreham's defeat at Walton Casuals on Saturday. Picture by David Jeffery

Sammy Donnelly was left fuming after another poor first half performance sent Shoreham Football Club crashing to a 16th Bostik League South defeat of the season on Saturday.

Odofin O’Niel’s own-goal, a Max Hustwick penalty and Harry Mills’ strike - which all came inside the opening half-hour - saw Walton Casuals wrap up a convincing 3-1 home triumph.

George Gaskin pulled one back after the restart but basement boys Mussels left themselves too much to do.

A 16th defeat in 21 league matches has extended Shoreham’s run without a Bostik League South win to ten matches.

Donnelly’s team last won back in October and the Mussels boss admitted the run is hurting him.

He said: “It was the same old story on Saturday. We were so poor in the first half then improved after the break.

“What we can’t afford to continue to do is start matches in the way that we are. If we had performed like we did in the second half for the whole game, maybe we’d have taken a point - we’ll never know.

“All we can do is get back on the training pitch this week, regroup and go again on Saturday.”

Mussels made a woeful start and were three goals down inside the opening half-hour.

Centre-half O’Niel got the final touch on a Walton Casuals free-kick as he put through his own net after 12 minutes.

Sean Roddy was then penalised for a foul in the penalty area, with a spot-kick awarded three minutes later.

Hustwick slammed his penalty past James Broadbent to double Casuals' lead.

A below-par showing in the opening 30 minutes was punished further as Mills struck a third for the home side.

Mussels had a totally different look after the interval, pulling a goal back through striker Gaskin 23 minutes from time but it proved just a consolation.

Shoreham remain nine points adrift of place-above Ashford United and safety, although they do have a game in hand.

Mussels’ run of ten league games without victory is something that is hurting Donnelly and he wants to see a response from his team as they host 16th-placed Faversham Town on Saturday.

He said: “You’d think with all my experience and years in the game, defeats would not still hurt me as much but they do. Defeats are difficult to take no matter what but when you come away feeling the team hasn’t performed to the best of their ability for the whole game - it’s even tougher to take.

“All we can do now as a group is move forward and make sure we are performing to the best of our ability for the whole 90 minutes.

“All I can ask of my team is they give everything. It seems we are playing more as individuals then as a team at times, which if we are to get out of this mess, must change and improve. We need to stay in the fight together to try and pick up points.”

SHOREHAM: Broadbent; Roddy, Gathern, O’Niel, Whitehead; Carey, M.Hand; Lyle, Myers, Packer, Gaskin. Subs: Gates (Whitehead), Collyer (Packer), Herbert (Myers), Robinson, Diakiesse.