Worthing United were dumped out of the SCFL Division 1 Cup at the weekend after a 5-0 drubbing from Bexhill United, but caretaker boss Bill Clifford says the priority for the side is moving up the league table.
United, who have been without a permanent manager since September, came into the tie off the back of two league wins on the bounce but had lost 8-1 to Bexhill earlier in the season.
A steady first half saw Worthing go into the break just a goal behind, but the two up top for Bexhill proved too much to handle, and even earned praise from Clifford, who described them as 'a class apart'.
Jack Shonk had put the travelling side ahead in the opening 20 minutes before strike partner Jack McLean doubled the lead in the opening minute of the second half. Another quick fire goal from Shonk sealed the win and signalled damage limitation for Worthing. McLean added to his tally before Shonk completed his hat trick, but despite the scoreline, Clifford was pleased with his players.
He said: "The performance was decent, our priority right now is to move up the league table. We had a few players out, one through suspension and others through work commitments, so we took a decision to rest those feeling niggles and give some of the fringe players a game and to be fair, I thought the guys who went out and wore the shirt were excellent.
"Bexhill's quality just showed in the second half. They've got two guys up front who were just a class apart and that bit of extra quality just told.
"It was always going to be a tough afternoon and given the side that we put out and the performance, we were reasonably happy. I think the improvement we've shown is in terms of performance and desire."
Clifford has now been in charge for the past eight matches, but hinted that there could be some news on the vacant managerial position soon. He'll he hoping that his side can extend their winning run in the league when they take on Storrington on Saturday.
"They seem to have a mixed bag of results. They've got a game in midweek but I'm not too sure what you can take from their cup game, as I always say I worry more about what we're up to than the opposition."
On the importance of keeping the winning run going, Clifford finished by saying: "It's very important, that's why we made the decision we made on Saturday (to rest players), we've got a very honest bunch of guys and they step onto the pitch and give it their best every game."
Worthing United XI: Seymour, Richardson, Patching, Ndayako, Webber, Chalmer, Funnell (Ellis, 71), Short, McKernan, Waller, Luff. Subs: Ellis, Burgess, Hartley, Styles.