MANAGER Mark Ashford had some brutally honest home truths for his Witham Town players in the wake of back-to-back Bostik League division north disappointments.

Ashford pulled no punches in assessing his team’s performance at Bury Town on Tuesday night as an under par display brought a 5-2 defeat that came on the back of a 2-0 loss to Tilbury last weekend.

The Tilbury defeat was the first time this season that a team had completed a home and away double against Witham and Bury made it two in quick succession to leave Ashford frustrated.

He said they had been results that he and his management team had seen coming, saying they had seen a complacency creeping in from their players in recent weeks after a strong run of form.

And with a trip to leaders Bowers & Pitsea coming up on Saturday, the Town boss is demanding that socks are pulled up – quickly.

He said: “We are an honest bunch and sometimes things have to be said.

“The management team have been worried with how the team has been going for a little while.

“You see little things in the way players train or the warm-up before games and in the dressing room and we’ve been talking to the players about the need to pick it up.

“Because we’ve been getting results, I think there has perhaps been a bit of complacency that we’d just get results from turning up.

“But the Tilbury game and Bury are massive wake-up calls.

“We have some really tough games coming up against sides in the top six and we are going to get massively found out if we don’t turn up and do the basics right.

“In the first half, out of possession, we were awful at Bury.

“There was a real lack of desire and work rate.

“We have started to build ourselves a reputation of being a difficult team to break down because we work really hard for each other and there is a real togetherness as we put ourselves about.

“But football can bite you on the backside.

“When you think you’ve cracked it, it bites you right there.

“It’s difficult for me to put a finger on it and you try all the things as a manager to psychologically try to get the players there, but maybe we needed a game like the one at Bury for the players to wake up to the reality that we are not as good as we think we are without the hard work, the heart and the desire.

“They are things that should be a given in football but unfortunately aren’t and we got punished for it at Bury.”