ADIE Arnold was left with mixed feelings on Saturday as thread-bare Verwood Town slipped to a 1-0 defeat at table-topping Winchester City.

Shorn of five first-team players in the build-up, the Potters battled manfully at the Denplan but were ultimately undone by Chris Mason’s second-half strike.

Manager Arnold, whose side have now gone five Wessex League Premier Division matches without victory, declared himself satisfied with the application of his troops but was left crestfallen by the gulf in quality between the haves and the have-nots of Verwood’s division.

The Potterne Park boss told the Daily Echo: “We had a full squad of 16 players on Thursday night but by Friday night I was down to 11 or 12 with three of my back four unavailable.

"We knew it would be difficult and there was a lot of huff and puff but we lacked the quality you need at a place like Winchester.

"The lads gave me everything I could have asked for. In terms of work-rate and desire it was 100 per cent but as well as we did, the quality told in the end.

“With the bodies we had out I would probably have accepted a narrow defeat but it was hard to drive home with time to reflect on it.

"There was very little we could do in the circumstances but with nothing to play with all we could do was give our all and hope for the best which was frustrating.”

Potters: Lynch, Elsom, Molyneaux, Oldring, Foster (Harding, 70), Dyer, Rutter (M Speechley-Price, 75), Gajic, Lovell, L Speechley-Price, N Saxby. Unused subs: Arnold, D Saxby, Darnton.