MANAGER Les Jones insists the only way Malvern Town will get out of their recent rut is by sticking together and working hard.
The Hillsiders suffered back-to-back West Midlands (Regional) League Premier Division defeats for the first time this season after tasting a 5-4 reverse at home to mid-table Hereford Lads Club.
That defeat comes a week after the club’s 6-2 mauling at Shropshire side Ellesmere Rangers.
And with a tricky trip to Black Country outfit Smethwick FC on Saturday, a team which knocked Malvern out of the FA Vase last month, boss Jones told the Observer the players need to stand up and be counted.
“When you score six goals in two weeks and come away with nothing is extremely concerning,” he said.
“And to have scored four goals at home and not even won is absurd.
“We have to put things right this weekend against a very good Smethwick side.
“And the only way to stop this run of bad form is by sticking together and continuing to work hard.”
Matthew Turner and Lewis Platt gave Malvern a 2-0 lead inside 15 minutes against Lads Club at the HDAnywhere Community Stadium before Matt Maturi pulled one back minutes later.
Turner restored the hosts’ two-goal advantage before the break but an own-goal moments later gave the visitors hope.
Immediately after the interval Danny Moon levelled before the player-manager netted again five minutes later to put Lads Club in front for the first time.
Kiea Cowley made it 5-3 six minutes from the end but there was still time for Turner to complete his hat-trick in the 90th minute.
“We gave inexcusable goals away,” said Jones. “Having been 3-1 up, to then give silly goals away before and after half-time gave us a huge mountain to climb.
“It gives you no hope as you are then chasing the game so it was a very frustrating weekend.
“I said this game was a must-win and now it makes the next one even more of a must-win because we have got a tough run of away fixtures coming up.”
Meanwhile, midfielder Kirk Layton has returned to Malvern following a two-year spell at Bishop’s Cleeve.