DUMBFOUNDED boss Adie Arnold blamed a lack of desire from his punch-drunk charges as Christchurch kicked off his tenure with a spirit-crushing collapse at former club Verwood Town.
Priory never recovered from being hit with a two-goal blast in the opening 13 minutes and Carl Poore’s purposeful Potters put to the sword their erratic visitors in a consummate 4-0 victory last night.
Pumped-up Verwood set about their task with focus and determination, traits which were encapsulated by Russell Dyer’s calm control before he lashed an unstoppable strike across Jamie Bray in the ninth minute.
Charlie Gajic added the second with a flicked near-post header from Tom Whelan’s corner after the off-colour Lee Clark had failed to track the tenacious midfielder’s run.
The game was up on 34 minutes when savvy veteran Matt Groves stepped over Whelan’s low whipped free kick, taking Bray and Ben Kelly out of the equation as the untouched low centre bobbled inside the far post.
Matters were made worse when referee Paul Knight spotted a push and awarded Christchurch a penalty on the stroke of half-time, only to reverse his decision after consulting his assistant.
The rest of the match was a non-event but another kamikaze moment gifted Verwood their fourth.
Matt Vining headed past his own keeper as Bray came out to collect a routine cross with the grateful Morgan Turner nipping in to blast Vining’s goal-bound header into the empty net.
Beaming Verwood boss Poore said: “I’m over the moon. We set out to put them under pressure from the off and got our rewards.
“If you’re quick and strong from the start, teams do buckle and we buckled Christchurch in the first 25 minutes. It was game over for them.”
It was an assessment Arnold couldn’t disagree with.
The Christchurch manager told the Daily Echo: “Verwood were more up for it than we were, you could see what it meant to them and we were caught cold.
“Carl got them wound up in the dressing room and they came out at 100 miles-per-hour. He’s right, we buckled.
“What frustrated me was that we warned the lads what would happen but they didn’t take it on board. We tried to get back into it but the third goal absolutely killed us.
“Take nothing away from Verwood, they gave us what we deserved. They hunted us in threes and fours and we didn’t cope with it. That’s where the game was lost.
“We were hopeless. Our passing was poor and the hardest thing to take was the lack of desire from our lads.
“There were no leaders out there, no one who wanted to dig in and win their personal battles. They wanted a lot more than us and it showed.
“I’ve got to take this one on the chin. We can’t hide behind people not being available, we were just second best in every department.”
Potters: Lynch, Evans, Buck, Dent, Cormack, Gajic (Rutten, 67), Dyer, Whelan, Turner, Groves (Cousins, 78), Foster (Elysee, 78). Unused subs: Goddard, Collins (g/k).
Priory: Bray, Speers (Owen, 57), Dodd, Kelly, Hampton-Brown (Proudley, 57), Clark, Lovell (Wilkinson, 80), Saxby, Haskell, Vining, Hill. Unused subs: Leonard, Fawcett (g/k).