Robinson left fuming with ‘harrowing’ Hungerford performance as Parkway exact revenge with thumping victory
Hungerford Town boss Danny Robinson blasted Saturday’s 6-2 thrashing at the hands of Plymouth Parkway as one of the worst performances from his time in charge of the Crusaders.
Town hammered Parkway 7-0 on the opening day of the season at Bulpit Lane back in August but it was roles reversed in Devon as a resurgent Plymouth side, who are unbeaten in seven and thumped league leaders Chesham 4-0 before Christmas, exacted revenge with a ruthless display.
Hungerford found themselves 3-0 down at the break after conceding three goals in 14 minutes before half time. Jack Crago opened the scoring with his ninth goal of the season, Callum Hall made it 2-0 in the 44th minute and Reece Thomson added a third on the stroke of half time.
Elis Watts pulled one back just after the hour but the hosts restored their three goal cushion moments later when Crago struck again to take his tally into double figures for the campaign. Adulai Sambu made it 4-2 four minutes later but a wonder-strike from captain Ryan Lane, who was sent off in the reverse fixture, and another from Callum Hall four minutes from time completed the rout.
And Robinson was left fuming with his side’s nightmarish showing, declaring it one of the worst performances during his tenure.
“I think, along with the last game of last season at Ebbsfleet, it was one of the worst performances I’ve seen from a Hungerford Town side since I’ve been here,” he said.
“It’s even more surprising given how good we’ve been.
“There’s no hiding away from it, Plymouth fully deserved it and could have even scored more.
“It was harrowing. We need to put it right, and put it right quickly.
“I know the players are fully aware of what happened and how bad it was. It was about as far from how I’d like us to be as you could ever hope to witness.
“The important thing now is that we put it right.”
Town dished out similar treatment to Parkway when the Devonshire outfit visited West Berkshire, with Lee Hobbs’ side going on to lose all of their opening four matches.
However Parkway have been a different side of late, moving up to 16th and clear of trouble in the Southern Premier League South table.
The result in August only added to Robinson’s frustration, with the Town boss insisting that the group had discussed Plymouth’s inevitable desire for revenge in the week leading up to the game.
He said: “It makes it even worse. It was one of the things we focused on in training all week – we knew they had a point to prove and were going to be like red rags to a bull.
“We had to stand up and impose ourselves on the game. We started off well enough, but as soon as the first goal went in the energy zapped out of us and we fell apart.
“I couldn’t believe it, it was painful. Myself and the players take full responsibility and we’re determined to come back stronger.”
Robinson had been able to name the same side for four games in a row but was forced into a change on Saturday, with Jacob Gardiner-Smith replacing the talismanic Joe Shepherd in midfield.
Shepherd, who was suspended, has been one of Hungerford’s outstanding and most consistent performers this campaign and Robinson admitted that the broad-shouldered midfielder was a big miss.
“He was a massive miss,” he said.
“He’s always top of the running stats. He’d put his head in front of a train for this football club; he’d even tackle a train for this football club.
“We were far too nice and far too easily rolled over. He gives us that steeliness and determination and we didn’t manage to replace that.”
Saturday’s local derby at home to Swindon Supermarine, who themselves have been on an upward trajectory since the appointment of Stuart Fleetwood as manager, now takes on even more significance as the Crusaders look to right the wrongs of the previous weekend.
Town staved off a late fightback to win 3-2 in Swindon at the end of September. At the time, Supermarine were adrift at the bottom of the league but have since climbed to 14th and have won eight of their last 11 matches.
Robinson admits he is planning to make changes as he looks to end a run of successive defeats for the Crusaders, who have dropped out of the play-off places.
He said: “There will be changes – I won’t hide that fact.
“It’s a huge game. Stuart’s done brilliantly well and they’ve got better and better.
“Before these last two games, we’ve been very good ourselves. We need to get back at it and it’s a very, very important game for our season.”