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Non-league: Arnold ponders Verwood future after Christchurch capitulation
Potters found themselves on the wrong end of a 5-2 reverse against a Priory outfit inspired by experienced frontrunner Gareth Barnes’s quartet of poacher’s finishes.
At four down, Arnold’s men hauled two goals back through Ben Kelly and Jack Lovell but their brief flurry was curtailed by Marcus Cullen’s tidy touch and finish late on.
The dreadful derby showing left the Potterne Park club’s most successful manager at a loss to explain his side’s patchy form with Arnold left pain-stakingly pondering his future.
Pulling no punches at the full-time whistle, Arnold told the Daily Echo: “We were woeful. The players were an embarrassment to me personally, to the club and to themselves. What a place to come to put in your worst performance of the season.
“The inconsistency sums us up as a group. Compared to recent weeks it looked like 11 different players out there. I am lost for words.
“Take nothing away from Christchurch, they did their job as a group but there was nothing there from us in terms of team spirit. You have to earn the right to play at this level and we didn’t.
“I have been in football a long time and have never felt so low. I feel very let down and I have to go away and digest this because if players at this level can’t get up for a derby at Christchurch then what can they get up for?
“It is my job to lift the players and get them up for it but who lifts the management after a game like that?
"I have always had passion for the game and my teams have always reflected that but some players just have no fire in their bellies.
“We have the ability to do well but without hard work and commitment we will end up a bottom six Wessex side and, sadly, that is exactly what we are at the moment.”
Opposite number Michael Cuffie declared himself “pleased” with the victory but insisted the success was not as emphatic as the scoreline suggested.
He said: “We briefly switched off at the start of the second half and they had a great chance at 1-0.
"If they scored then it could have been a different story. We have to be careful with moments like that but generally we played very well.”
Cuffie anticipates naming an unchanged squad tomorrow as Christchurch travel to Winchester City.
Outgoing striker Carl Foster is expected to join Lymington Town after Priory waived their seven-day approach with goalkeeper Ben Field moving the other way.
Verwood, meanwhile, have a full compliment of players for their home clash with Lymington at Potterne Park.
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