KIRKLEY & Pakefield boss Paul Tong did not pull any punches after a “bitterly disappointing performance” in the 3-0 defeat to Gorleston on Boxing Day.

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The Royals chief believes some of his senior players need to carefully analyse their performance against the Greens, who cruised to victory courtesy of goals from Christy Finch, Chris Sandford and David Hinton.

“We got beaten by a much better side on the day,” he said. “They were better than us in every department and I think my players have got to have a long, hard look at themselves.

“Too many of my players under-performed. To be fair to Gorleston, they are the best side we have played this season after Dereham and you’ve got to take your hat off to them.

“We were very second best and it could have been a lot worse. Credit to them because I think they will be in the shake-up at the end of the season if they keep playing like that.”

While Kirkley have come a long way from last season when relegation remained a very real prospect until the final few weeks of the season, Tong admitted their display demonstrated just how far they’ve got to go if they are to compete at the right end of the table.

“It shows us just how far we’ve still got to go if we want to be competing at that level,” he added. “I’m just sorry for the people that came out to watch us because that was as bad as we have played this season. I’m bitterly disappointed.

“As Yarmouth boss I had some good Boxing Days against Gorleston but they ruined my Christmas this year!”

It doesn’t get any easier for Kirkley, who travel to Dereham tomorrow with the Magpies also looking to bounce back from their own festive disappointment following a 1-0 reverse at home to Norwich United.

Ryan Crisp is a slight doubt for the Royals and Tong revealed he may spring a few surprises in his team selection to freshen up his side.

“I’m probably going to have to shake it up a bit after a performance like that,” he said. “I will look to blood a few of the youngsters – too many of our senior players didn’t perform.”

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